Jan. 23, 2001

As I Walked Out in the Streets of Laredo

by Anonymous

Broadcast date: TUESDAY, 23 January 2001

Poem: "As I Walked Out in the Streets of Laredo," anonymous.

As I Walked Out in the Streets of Laredo

As I walked out in the streets of Laredo,
As I walked out in Laredo one day,
I spied a poor cowboy wrapped up in white linen,
Wrapped up in white linen and cold as the clay.

'I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy,'
These words he did say as I boldly stepped by.
'Come sit down beside me and hear my sad story'
I was shot in the breast and I know I must die.'

'Let sixteen gamblers come handle my coffin,
Let sixteen cowboys come sing me a song,
Take me to the graveyard and lay the sod o'er me,
For I'm a poor cowboy and I know I've done wrong.

It was once in the saddle I used to go dashing,
It was once in the saddle I used to go gay.
'Twas first to drinking, and then to card playing,
Got shot in the breast, I am dying today.

'Get six jolly cowboys to carry my coffin,
Get six pretty girls to carry my pall;
Put bunches of roses all over my coffin,
Put roses to deaden the clods as they fall.

'O beat the drum slowly and play the fife lowly
And play the dead march as you carry me along,
Take me to the green valley and lay sod o'er me,
For I'm a young cowboy and I know I've done wrong.'

We beat the drum slowly and played the fife lowly,
And bitterly wept as we bore him along;
For we all loved our comrade so brave, young and handsome,
We all loved our comrade, although he'd done wrong.

It's the birthday of poet and dramatist Derek Walcott, born on the island of St. Lucia in the West Indies (1930).He's the author of the epic poem Omeros (1990) and dozens of plays, including the Obie Award-winning Dream on Monkey Mountain.He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1992.

It's the birthday of jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, born Jean Baptiste Reinhardt, in Liberchies, Belgium (1910).

It's the birthday of painter Edouard Manet, born on the Left Bank of Paris (1832). He's known for his scenes of Parisian cafes and bars, paintings which were controversial for their time: for example, "Luncheon on the Grass" depicted two clothed men and a nude women seated in a field.

On this day in 1812, a massive earthquake measuring nearly 8 points on the Richter scale shook New Madrid, Missouri. It was the second of three major tremors that hit the area during an eight-week span that winter; the series of quakes and their powerful aftershocks shook the entire country. The area was sparsely populated—only 100 people lost their lives—but the earthquakes created landslides and cracks in the earth, put waterfalls in the Mississippi River and caused the river to flow in reverse for two or three hours. Farmland was unfit for planting for a couple of years because of all the sand that had worked its way up from underground.

It's the birthday of French novelist Stendhal, born Marie-Henri Beyle in Grenoble, France (1783).He was a soldier in Napoleon's army and took part the invasion of Italy (1800), which he wrote about in The Charterhouse of Parma (1839). After Napoleon abdicated in 1814, Stendhal devoted all of his time to writing, turning out biographies, opera reviews, travel guides, art critiques, and works of fiction, including The Red and the Black (Le Rouge et le Noir, 1831).

It's the birthday of John Hancock, born in Braintree, Massachusetts (1737). He was one of the richest men in the Colonies when he signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.His signature is known for its size—nearly five inches in length—so "John Hancock" became a synonym for signature.

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