bittersweet, Songs, Video Recording

Song: “The Horseman”

“The Horseman”

Behind the Song

“He’s a fighter.”

That’s what Abraham Lincoln said of this man. He was willing to take the fight to the confederate forces, unlike previous commanding generals.

He sent many men to their deaths. But he won the war for the Union.

Like another fighter for liberty in dark times, Winston Churchill, this man was more successful in war than in peace.

I’m talking about Ulysses S. Grant, the subject of today’s song.

When I learned about Grant’s life, something bittersweet struck me. He was most at home with horses. He loved them, understood them, felt at peace with them.

Learning this made me wish that he could have made a livelihood with his horses. And that’s where the chorus of this song comes from.

Lyrics

My daddy was a tanner
but I could not stand the stink
so he let me drive the horses
it gave me time to think.

I journeyed out to West Point
set records on my horse
we jumped the highest hurdle
I felt I found my course.

But war seized the nation
lust for Mexico
I saw blood and great daring
as we made carrion for the crow.

Ride, horseman, ride.
Ride, horseman, ride.
Your other knack is sending men to die
so ride, horseman, ride.

I was lonesome for my lady
in a guard-house by the sea
so I quit my commission early
to try my hand at living free.

Seven years of poverty
I could not earn a dime
I failed at growing corn
I hawked wood to stay alive.

But the tinder of bondage
erupted into flame
the nation needed fighters
the nation called my name.

In the mud I fought my enemies
in the hut I fought my chiefs
I split the mighty river
sent my brother south to reap.

Ride, horseman, ride.
Ride, horseman, ride.
Your other knack is sending men to die
so ride, horseman, ride.

In peace-time I was restless
so to service I returned
this time to lead the nation
secure what war had earned.

I was dogged by corruption
I could not trust my men
and when I tried to build a fortune
I was cheated once again.

Now I can take the measure
of any beast or foe
but the heart of a smiling man
is more than I will know.

Ride, horseman, ride.
Ride, horseman, ride.
Your other knack is sending men to die
so ride, horseman, ride.

Now on this porch I'm dying
my throat is rotting brown
all I own now are my stories
so I rush to write them down.

Judge me not too harshly
as I shuffle to my grave
yes, I bled the nation
many died, but more were saved.

These New York hills grow darker
but still I think I see
a horse without a rider
galloping to me.

Ride, horseman, ride.
Ride, horseman, ride.
Your other knack is sending men to die
so ride, horseman, ride.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s