by an unknown author
A cowboy lay down on a barroom floor,
Having drunk so much he could drink no more.
And he fell asleep with a troubled brain
To dream that he rode on a hell-bound train.
The engine with murderous blood was damp
And brilliantly lit with a brimstone lamp.
An imp, for fuel, was shoveling bones,
While the furnace rang with a thousand groans.
The boiler was filled with lager beer
And the devil himself was the engineer.
The passengers were mostly a motly crew,
Church member, atheist, Gentile, Jew,
Rich men in broadcloth, beggers in rags,
Pretty young ladies and withered old hags;
Yellow and black men, red, brown and white,
All chained together, what a horrible sight!
The train rushed on at an awful pace,
While sulphurous fumes scorched hands and face.
Wider and wider the country grew,
Faster and faster the engine flew.
Louder and louder the thunder crashed
Brighter and brighter the lightning flashed;
Hotter and hotter the air became
As clothing burned from each quivering frame.
And then from the distance arose a loud yell,
"Ha, ha" said the devil, "we're nearing hell!"
And oh how the passengers shrieked in pain
And begged the devil to stop the train.
But he capered about and danced with glee,
And laughed and joked at their misery.
"My faithful friends, you have done the work
And the devil can never a payday shirk.”
"You've laughed at the weak and robbed the poor,
The starving brother you've turned from the door;
You've laid up gold where the canker rusts,
And given free rein to your awful lusts.”
"You've ignored God’s grace and mercy true,
And did only what you wanted to do.
You gambled and cheated, plundered and lied,
And mocked at God in your hell-born pride.”
"You paid full fare so I'll carry you through,
For it's only right you should have your due.
Why, the laborer always expects his hire,
So I'll land you safe in the lake of fire.”
“Where you’ll writhe in pain in the roaring flame,
With none but your own sinful selves to blame.”
Then the cowboy awoke with an anguished cry,
His heart full of fear and his hair standing high
And he prayed as he never prayed till that hour
To be saved from his sins and the devil's power.
And his prayers to the Lord were not in vain,
For he never road the hell-bound train.