Twas a balmy summer evening and a goodly crowd was there
Which well-nigh filled Joe's barroom on the corner of the square
And as songs and witty stories came through the door
A vagabond crept slowly in and posed upon the floor.
Where did it come from someone said the wind has blown it in
What does it want another cried some whiskey rum or gin
Here Toby seek him if your stomach's equal to the work
I wouldn't touch him with a fork he's filthy as a Turk.
This baninage the poor wretch took with stocial good grace
In fact he smiled as though he though he'd struck the proper place
Come boys I know there'd kindly hearts among so good a crowd
To be in such good company would make a deacon proud.
Give me a drink that's what I want I'm out of funds you know
When I had cash to treat the gang this hand was never slow
What you laugh as though you thought this pocket never held a sov
I once was fixed as well my boys as any one of you.
There thanks that's braced me nicely God bless you one and all
Next time I pass this good saloon I'll make another call
Give you a song no I can't do that my singing days are past
My voice is cracked my throat's worn out and my lungs are going fast.
Say give me another whiskey and I'll tell you what I'll do
I'll tell you a funny story and a fact I promise too
That I was ever a decent man not one of you would think
But I was some four or five years back say give me another drink.
Fill her up Joe I want to put some life into my frame
Such little drinks to a bum like me are miserably tame
Five fingers there that's the scheme and corking whiskey too
Well here's luck boys and landlord my best regards to you.
You've treated me pretty kindly and I'd like to tell you how
I came to be the dirty sot you see before you now
As I told you once I was a man with muscle frame and health
And but for a blunder ought to have made considerable wealth.
I was a painter not one that daubed on bricks and wood
But an artist and for my age was rated pretty good
I worked hard at my canvas and was bidding fair to rise
For gradually I saw the star of fame before my eyes.
I made a picture perhaps you've seen 'tis called the Chase of Fame
It brought me fifteen hundred pounds and added to my name
And then I met a woman now comes the funny part
With eyes that petrified my brain and sunk into my heart.
Why don't you laugh 'tis funny that the vagabond you see
Could ever love a woman and a expect her love for me
But 'twas so and for a month or two her smiles were freely given
And when he loving lips touched mine it carried me to heaven.
Did you ever see a woman for whom your soul you'd give
With a form like the Milo Venus too beautiful to live
With eyes that would beat the Koh-i-noor and a wealth of chesnut nair
If so 'twas she for there never was another half so fair.
I was working on a portrait one afternoon in May
Of a fair haired boy a friend of mine who lived across the way
And Madeline admired it and much to my surprise
Said that she'd like to know the man that had such dreamy eyes.
It didn't take long to know him and before the month had flown
My friend had stolen my darling and I was left alone
And eve a year of misery had possed above my head
The jewel I had treasured so had tarnished and was dead.
That's why I took to drink boys why I never saw you smile
I thought you'd be amused and laughing all the while
Why what's the matter friend there's a teardrop in your eye
Come laugh like me 'tis only babes and woman that should cry.
Say boys if you give me just another whiskey I'll be glad
And I'll draw right here a picture of the face that drove me mad
Give me that piece of chalk with which you mark the baseball score
You shall see the lovely Madeline upon the barroom floor.
Another drink and with chalk in hand the vagabond began
To sketch a face that well might buy the soul of any man
Then as he placed another lock upon the shapely head
With a fearful shriek he leaped and fell across the picture...