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The Outlaw

by Charles Badger Clark

When my rope takes hold on a two-year-old,
By the foot or the neck or the horn,
He kin plunge and fight till his eyes go white
But I'll throw him as sure as you're born.
Though the taut ropes sing like a banjo string
And the latigoes creak and strain,
Yet I got no fear of an outlaw steer
And I'll tumble him on the plain.

For a man is a man, but a steer is a beast,
And the man is the boss of the herd,
And each of the bunch, from the biggest to least,
Must come down when he says the word.

When my leg swings 'cross on an outlaw hawse
And my spurs clinch into his hide,
He kin r'ar and pitch over hill and ditch,
But wherever he goes I'll ride.
Let 'im spin and flop like a crazy top
Or flit like a wind-whipped smoke,
But he'll know the feel of my rowelled heel
Till he's happy to own he's broke.

For a man is a man and a hawse is a brute,
And the hawse may be prince of his clan
But he'll bow to the bit and the steel-shod boot
And own that his boss is the man.

When the devil at rest underneath my vest
Gets up and begins to paw
And my hot tongue strains at its bridle reins,
Then I tackle the real outlaw.
When I get plumb riled and my sense goes wild
And my temper is fractious growed,
If he'll hump his neck just a triflin' speck,
Then it's dollars to dimes I'm throwed.

For a man is a man, but he's partly a beast.
He kin brag till he makes you deaf,
But the one lone brute, from the west to the east,
That he kaint quite break is himse'f.