Where are the stockmen bluff and bold,
Who pitched their tents on the far frontier,
Where wealth was not in bond or gold,
But in the long-horned Texas steer?
They gazed with delight on a fertile plain
On grazing ground, immense, so vast
That they felt like lords of a great demesne,
And they fondly dreamed it would always last.
They were harried by rustlers, red and white,
The wolves of the border who roamed the plain,
With many a foray by day and night,
Then up and away with ill-gotten gain.
A million buffalo had fattened and fed
On the range where the cowmen now held sway
But they melted away 'neath a hail of lead
Like balls of snow on a bright summer day.
Far away from the land they called their own
The Redskin is learning the white man's ways.
Unto the Great Spirit he makes his moan,
As the wild soul pines for the bygone days.
Where now are the boys who rode the range
In the far-off days when the west was young,
Who swore great oaths both loud and strange
And gay and wild were the songs they sung?
Where are the chums of sterling worth,
Those comrades ever so true and tried,
Where they measured a man not by size or girth
But by the way he could shoot and ride?
Many have crossed o'er the Great Divide,
Far from the scenes of border strife,
Some linger on with their hands applied
To the sober prosaic tasks of life.
Where are the girls, the painted ones
With the hollow cheek and the sunken eye,
Who would banter one with mocking tones,
And a laugh that was all a lie?
Full many are sleeping beneath the sod?
Let none their mournful fate deride;
They've pleaded their cause at the bar of God,
Those poor lost souls for whom Christ died.
The settlers came in a white-winged fleet,
And soon vast tracts of the range possessed,
And the cowmen's ruin seemed most complete,
As they pressed them farther into the west.
They now feed stock of the full white-face,
So good-by to the long-horned Texas steer;
For they now have little part or place
And gone are the days of the old frontier.
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