The Songs He Sang
Booth Shot Lincoln: Lyrics
As performed by Cisco Houston
John Wilkes Booth came to Washington, An actor great was he, He played at Ford's Theater, And Lincoln went to see. It was early in April, Not many weeks ago, The people of this fair city All gathered at the show. The war it is all over, The people happy now, And Abraham Lincoln arose, Arose to make his bow; The people cheer him wildly, Arising to their feet, And Lincoln waving of his hand, He calmly takes his seat. And while he sees the play go on, His thoughts are running deep, His darling wife, close by his side, Has fallen fast asleep. From the box there hangs a flag, It's not the Stars and Bars, The flag that holds within its folds Bright gleaming stripes and stars. John Wilkes Booth he moves down the aisle, He had measured once before, He passes Lincoln's bodyguard A-nodding at the door. He holds a dagger in his right hand, A pistol in his left, He shoots poor Lincoln in the temple, And he sends his soul to rest. The wife awakes from slumber, And screams in her rage, Booth jumps over the railing And lands him on the stage. He'll rue the day, he'll rue the hour, As God him life shall give, When Booth stood in that center stage, Crying, "Tyrants shall not live!" The people all excited Then cried everyone, "A hand!" Cried all the people near, "For God's sake, save that man!" Then Booth ran back with boot and spurs Across the backstage floor, He mounts that trusty claybank mare, All saddled at the door. John Wilkes Booth, in his last play, All dressed in broadcloth deep, He gallops down the alleyway, I hear those horses feet. Poor Lincoln then was heard to say, And all has gone to rest, "Of all the actors in this town, I loved Booth the best."
Singing unacccompanied, Cisco sounds both strong and sad as he tells this fanciful tale.