Digital Tradition Mirror

The Oxen Song

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The Oxen Song

Come all you bold ox teamsters,
Wherever you may be,
I hope you'll pay attention
And listen unto me.

It's of a bold ox teamster,
His name I'll tell to you,
His name was Johnny Carpenter
He pulled the oxen through.

'Twas early in the season,
In the fall of Twenty-five,
John Ross he sent four oxen up
For Carpenter to drive.

John Ross he sent four oxen up,
And I must pen this down,
He had some spruce and pine to haul
Off of the Scottbrook town.

Now the first load we brought from the farm,
It was two bales of hay
With lots of other knickknacks
That he had stored away.

He took with him six bags of meal
And his bunk chains also,
All for to bind his spruce and pine
While hauling through the snow.

As I strolled out one morning,
Just at the break of day,
I heard two men a-talking.
These words I heard them say:

Says Carpenter unto Flemmons,
"I 'll show them to haul spruce,
For my oxen in the snow, you see,
Are equal to bull moose! "

Now the first day we was hauling
We landed forty-nine,
And in a short time after that
We began to fall behind.

They kept a-failing every day,
The tally board tells it all;
Now to do our best it's ten a day
Is all that he can haul.

Sebat he went to Carpenter,
These words to him did say:
"We've got to run another turn
For this will never pay.

"We've got to run another turn,
And we'll all work together;
I've found a wonderful bunch of pine
'Way up at the head of the medder."

Now the crew that 'tend those oxen,
Their names to you I'II tell;
The jobber's name was Crowley-
The boys all knew him well.

There was Flemmons, Reddy, and Griffin,
Three boys that know no fear,
There was Gillis and Long Archie,
Sebat brought up the rear.

Old Duke and Swan all on the pole,
So vigorous they do lug,
While Swan's the head with a collar and hames,
And a pair of leather tugs.

Old Brighty in the hovel lay,
They say his feet are sore
But it was a strain that caused his pain,
And now he'll haul no more.

Now his oxen they have got so poor,
To haul they are not fit,
His sled looks like a butcher block,
All smeared with blood and grit.

He tried to keep his oxen fat,
But found it was no use;
For all that's left is skin and bones,
And all the horns are loose.

Now to conclude and finish
I'm going to end my song.
I hope I haven't offended you
If I've said anything wrong.

From Folk Songs of Old New England, Linscott
Collected from Samuel Young, Maine
Reportedly written by Larry Gorman


Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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