Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1835–1860
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX TO AUTHORS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. VI–VIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 1835–1860
 
The Cowboy
By John Antrobus (1831–1907)
 
[Born in Walsall, Warwickshire, England, 1831. Died in Detroit, Mich., 1907. Composed while at work upon his Painting, “The Cowboy.” 1886.]

“WHAT care I, what cares he,
What cares the world of the life we know?
Little they reck of the shadowless plains,
The shelterless mesa, the sun and the rains,
The wild, free life, as the winds that blow.”        5
      With his broad sombrero,
      His worn chapparejos,
        And clinking spurs,
      Like a Centaur he speeds,
      Where the wild bull feeds;        10
And he laughs, ha, ha!—who cares, who cares!
 
Ruddy and brown—careless and free—
A king in the saddle—he rides at will
O’er the measureless range where rarely change
The swart gray plains so weird and strange,        15
Treeless, and streamless, and wondrous still!
      With his slouch sombrero,
      His torn chapparejos,
        And clinking spurs,
      Like a Centaur he speeds        20
      Where the wild bull feeds;
And he laughs, ha, ha!—who cares, who cares!
 
He of the towns, he of the East,
Has only a vague, dull thought of him;
In his far-off dreams the cowboy seems        25
A mythical thing, a thing he deems
A Hun or a Goth as swart and grim!
      With his stained sombrero,
      His rough chapparejos,
        And clinking spurs,        30
      Like a Centaur he speeds,
      Where the wild bull feeds;
And he laughs, ha, ha!—who cares, who cares!
 
Often alone, his saddle a throne,
He scans like a sheik the numberless herd;        35
Where the buffalo-grass and the sage-grass dry
In the hot white glare of a cloudless sky,
And the music of streams is never heard.
      With his gay sombrero,
      His brown chapparejos,        40
        And clinking spurs,
      Like a Centaur he speeds,
      Where the wild bull feeds;
And he laughs, ha, ha!—who cares, who cares!
 
Swift and strong, and ever alert,        45
Yet sometimes he rests on the dreary vast;
And his thoughts, like the thoughts of other men,
Go back to his childhood days again,
And to many a loved one in the past.
      With his gay sombrero,        50
      His rude chapparejos,
        And clinking spurs,
      He rests awhile,
      With a tear and a smile,
Then he laughs, ha, ha!—who cares, who cares!        55
 
Sometimes his mood from solitude
Hurries him, heedless, off to the town!
Where mirth and wine through the goblet shine,
And treacherous sirens twist and twine
The lasso that often brings him down;        60
      With his soaked sombrero,
      His rent chapparejos,
        And clinking spurs,
      He staggers back
      On the homeward track,        65
And shouts to the plains—who cares, who cares!
 
On his broncho’s back he sways and swings,
Yet mad and wild with the city’s fume;
His pace is the pace of the song he sings,
And the ribald oath that maudlin clings        70
Like the wicked stench of the harlot’s room.
      With his ragged sombrero,
      His torn chapparejos,
        His rowel-less spurs,
      He dashes amain        75
      Through the trackless rain;
Reeling and reckless—who cares, who cares!
 
’Tis over late at the ranchman’s gate—
He and his fellows, perhaps a score,
Halt in a quarrel o’er night begun,        80
With a ready blow and a random gun—
There’s a dead, dead comrade! nothing more.
      With his slouched sombrero,
      His dark chapparejos,
        And clinking spurs,        85
      He dashes past,
      With face o’ercast,
And growls in his throat—who cares, who cares!
 
Away on the range there is little change;
He blinks in the sun, he herds the steers;        90
But a trail on the wind keeps close behind,
And whispers that stagger and blanch the mind
Through the hum of the solemn noon he hears.
      With his dark sombrero,
      His stained chapparejos,        95
        His clinking spurs,
      He sidles down
      Where the grasses brown
May hide his face, while he sobs—who cares!
 
But what care I, and what cares he—        100
This is the strain, common at least;
He is free and vain of his bridle-rein,
Of his spurs, of his gun, of the dull, gray plain;
He is ever vain of his broncho beast!
      With his gray sombrero,        105
      His brown chapparejos,
        And clinking spurs,
      Like a Centaur he speeds,
      Where the wild bull feeds;
And he laughs, ha, ha!—who cares, who cares!        110
 
 
CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX TO AUTHORS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors