March 19, 2010

On Exploring

--by Thales Hastings Haskell

[Included in the Journal of Thales H. Haskell prepared for publication by Juanita Brooks, printed in Utah Historical Quarterly Vol. XII January-April, 1944.  This song was written by Thales H. Haskell and was sung often among the pioneers. I have never seen the music written but have heard the song many times--J. B.]

We bid farewell to Gould's place-- Exploring we were bound
Instead of taking a straight course--We circle round and round

The rocks they are so high--The hills they are so steep
We can hardly find a level place--To lie us down to sleep.

When we find a level place--In rains so like sin
You might as well be in the creek--At least up to your chin

And when the rain is over--There comes the deuced guard
Who calls you out to duty--I think its rather hard.

This thing they call exploring--Looks pretty in a book
But if you follow it up boys--You'll wear a disappointed look

For the country is wilderness, There are no Indian signs
We have no trail nor guide, boys--We have to go it blind.

We've clambered up the clay hills--The compass we have boxed
We have traveled over mountains--And canyons full of rocks

This trip would try a Quaker--It cannot be denied
For the old gray horse of Pocketville--Has tumbled down and died.

Our bugler found a hornet's nest--Which caused him to retreat
But everyone acknowledged--He performed a quite a feat

For like a broncho rider--The sadlle he did stick
While the mule was whirling off with him--And seemed inclined to kick.

We have crowded thru the quaking asp--And over fallen pine
We have bursted up our cracker sacks--And strewed our flour behind

Our animals got off the track--The boys politely swore
That they never drove a pack mule--In such a place before.

When we got to Cedar--The Bishop took us in
And gave us all our supper--And bid us call again

But when we got to Parowan--The Bishop gave a bow
And said its not convenient--To entertain you now.

I wish I had a clean shirt--I wish I had some shoes
I wish my old mule was fat--And I didn't have the blues

If ever I get home again--Contented I'll remain
And never go exploring--Till called upon again.

—Thales H. Haskell--1865

[And of course, he was called upon again and again, and never said "No."]

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