The Bandit

by George Albert Leddy


Aye, search ye high and search ye lo’;
Ye hound dogs of the law.
Yea, hound dogs, following on the trail
Of one ye never saw.
Ah, do ye hope to get me soon?
Well, let that hope be dead.
Ye’ll only find wherein I’ve dwelt,
To find that I have fled.
I’d shoot ye down should ye come near;
I’ve done such in the past.
Ye’ll never hear the cruel world say,
“Black Donald caught at last!”

When but a boy, I felt your sting
For just some childish prank.
Ye snared me like a savage beast;
My ship-of-hope ye sank.
And as I served my sentence
In your state industrial school,
My soul called out for liberty;
My heart grew hard and cruel.
I grew to hate your heartless laws
That branded me with shame;
And swore to wreck my vengeance
When the day-of-reckoning came.

The guards walked by like stately ghosts,
Within all were at rest.
A knife I’d used at work that day
Lay hidden in my breast.
I heard the watchman at his post        
Send out the call, “All’s well!”
And then I, like a sneaking-thief,
Crept from my dingy cell.
I sought a guard, my knife in hand,
One blow to set me free.
A moan, a groan, a pool of blood;
A dash for liberty.

But that was thirty years ago;
I’ve changed a bit since then;
A mountain bandit, cruel and bold,
My soul well lined with sin.
A monarch of the mountainside;
My name rings through the land.
The traveler fears Black Donald
And his notorious-band.
I’ve earned the name Black Donald
By the dark deeds I have done.
I never stop at anything
Until I know I’ve won.

I do not hug the mountainside
In dread or trembling fear.
Oft’ when they speak of bandits bold,
Black Donald’s standing near.
And when I hitch my faithful horse
And call the boys all in,
They drink and talk as if they thought
I were the “King of Men.”
They ne’re mistrust their liberal host,
The man they’d like to see
With lariat-collar ‘round his neck
And swinging from a tree.

Why, I have read the posters
Of the price set on my head.
When searching for Black Donald,
I myself have searches led;
And left the searching party
In the evening when at rest
To rob, and then return again;
The spoils safe in my breast.
Ah, had they known their leader was
The man for which they sought;
They would have shown no mercy,
They’d have killed me on the spot.

I’ve waited by the mountain-pass
As watchful as a deer,
Until the welcome rumble of
The stage wheels I would hear.
And then, most calm and stately,
I would boldly take my stand.
A halt; a search; and then pass-on;
They’d heeded my command.
But if someone, more boldly,
My actions should decline;
The stage would pass on but to leave
One passenger behind.

And though I am a bandit; robbing,
Robbing night and day;
I haven’t got a penny of
The treasure hid away.
And if ye think no friends have I,
Mistaken all are ye.
Ye’d aught to see the grateful ones
Who each night wait for me.
The widow and the orphan,
Whom on charity depend,
Would suffer cold and hunger,
But to them I proved a friend.

And when ye read the horrors
Of Black Donald’s terrible band,
Just bare in mind my horse is all
The partner I command.
The deeds we’ve done, we’ve done alone,
My faithful steed and I;
And when we leave this rough old world,
We will together die.
And though I’ve robbed the rich man,
God won’t judge me hard I’m sure,
For what I’ve taken from the rich
I’ve given to the poor.

And when the day of reckoning comes,
We’ll meet on equal grounds;
We’ll see your soul’s as black as mine;
Ye haunting, heartless hounds.
And ‘though you’ve been the nation’s law,
The Bandit then won’t fear;
All judged by one, who judges all;
Fair judgment’s always here.
So search ye through the years to come
As through the years that’s past;
Ye’ll never hear the cruel world say,
“Black Donald caught at last!”