William E. Annin. Omaha Bee, 1891.
He’s Western born and Western bred, if he has been late abroad.
I knew him in the days way back, beyond Missouri’s flow,
When the country round was nothing but a huge Wild Western Show;
When the Injuns were as thick as fleas, and the man who ventured through
The sandhills of Nebraska had to fight the hostile Sioux.
These were hot times, I tell you; and we all remember still
The days when Cody was a scout, and all the men knew Bill.
I knew him first in Kansas in the days of ‘68,
When the Cheyennes and Arapahoes were wiping from the slate
Old scores against the settlers, and when men who wore the blue,
With shoulder-straps and way-up rank, were glad to be helped through
By a bearer of dispatches, who knew each vale and hill
From Dakota down to Texas, and his other name was Bill.
I mind me too of ‘79, the time when Cody took
His scouts upon the Rosebud, along with General Crook;
When Custer’s Seventh rode to their death for lack of some such aid
To tell them that the sneaking Sioux knew how to ambuscade.
I saw Bill’s fight with Yellow Hand, you bet it was a “mill”;
He downed him well at thirty yards, and all the men cheered Bill.
They tell me that the women folk now take his word as laws;
In them days laws were mighty skerce, and hardly passed with squaws;
But many a hardy settler’s wife and daughter used to rest
More quietly because they knew of Cody’s dauntless breast;
Because they felt, from Laramie way down to old Fort Sill,
Bill Cody was a trusted scout, and all their men knew Bill.
I haven’t seen him much of late; how does he bear his years?
They says he’s making ducats now, from shows and not from “steers”;
He used to be a judge of “horns,” when poured in a tin cup,
And left the wine to tenderfeet, and men who felt “way up”;
Perhaps he cracks a bottle now, perhaps he’s had his fill;
Who cares, Bill Cody was a scout, and all the world knows Bill.
To see him in his trimmins, he can’t hardly look the same,
With laundered shirt and diamonds, as if “he run a game.”
He didn’t wear biled linen then, or flash up diamond rings;
The royalties he dreamed of then were only pasteboard kings;
But those who sat behind the queens were apt to get their fill,
In the days when Cody was a scout, and all the men knew Bill.