Posted by: Oklahoma Sun | December 29, 2009

Playing The Game

Playing The Game.

Berton Braley. “Western Ballads,” Songs of the Workaday World, 1915.


YES, he went an’ stole our steers,
So, of course, he had to die;
I ain’t sheddin’ any tears,
But, when I cash in—say, I
Want to take it like that guy—
Laughin’, jokin’ with the rest,
Not a whimper, not a cry,
Standin’ up to meet the test
Till we swung him clear an’ high,
With his face turned toward the west!

Here’s the way it looks to me;
Cattle thief’s no thing to be,
But, if you take up that trade,
Be the best one ever made;
If you’ve got a thing to do
Do it strong an’ SEE IT THROUGH!

That was him! He played the game,
Took his chances, bet his hand,
When at last the showdown came
An’ he lost, he kept his sand;
Didn’t weep an’ didn’t pray,
Didn’t waver er repent,
Simply tossed his cards away,
Knowin’ well just what it meant.
Never claimed the deck was stacked,
Never called the game a snide,
Acted like a man should act,
Took his medicine—an’ died!

So I say it here again,
What I think is true of men;
They should try to do what’s right,
Fair an’ square an’ clean an’ white,
But, whatever is their line,
Bad er good er foul er fine,
Let ‘em go the Limit, play
Like a plunger, that’s the way!