Western Wagons

They went with axe and rifle
Before the trails were blazed;
They went with goods and family
In the prairie-schooner days,
With banjo and with frying pan ---
Oh, Susanna, don't you cry!
For I'm off to California,
To get rich or to try!

We've broken land and cleared it,
But we're tired of where we are.
They say that wild Nebraska
Is a better place, by far.
There's gold in far Wyoming,
There's black earth in Ioway.
So pack up the kids and blankets,
For we're moving west today!

The meek ones never started
And the weak died on the road,
And all across the continent
The endless campfires glowed.
We'd taken land and settled,
But a wagon train passed by,
And we're going West tomorrow,
Lordy, never ask me why.

We're going West tomorrow,
Where the promises can't fail.
O'er the hills in legions, boys,
And crowd the dusty trail!
We shall starve and freeze and suffer,
We shall die and tame the lands.
But we're going West tomorrow,
With our fortune in our hands.

Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benet
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