Words by W. N. Allen (aka Shan T. Boy). Traditional music.
One evening last June as I rambled
O’re the hills and the valleys alone,
The meadowlarks notes were melodious;
How merry the whippoorwill sang!
The frogs in the marshes were croaking,
And the tree toads were whistling for rain,
And the partridge around me were drumming
On the banks of the Little L’eau Pleine.
As the sun in the west was declining
It tainted the tree tops with red,
My wondering steps bored me onward,
Never caring where’er they led,
Till I chanced for to meet a young school ma’am,
Charmed in a horrible strain.
She lamented her lost jolly raftsman
From the banks of the Little L’eau Pleine.
“Pray tell me what kind of a fellow
And what kind of clothing he wore.
For I did belong to the river
And I might have seen him before.”
“His pants they were made of two wheat sacks,
With a patch a foot square on each knee.
His jacket and shirt they were dyed with
The bark of a butternut tree.”
“He wore a red sash round his middle’
And an end hanging down on each side.
His boots numbers ten of strong cowhide,
And the heel about four inches wide.
His name it was Honest John Murphy
And on it there n’er was a stain,
For he loved the West Constant River
That’s the reason he left the L’eau Pleine.”
“If that be the kind of your Johnny,
T’was he that I did know well.
These sad tidings I will tell you,
Your Johnny was drowned in the dell.
We buried him ‘neath the low valley,
And you’ll never see him again,
For the stones mark the sod o’er your Johnny.
He lies far from the Little L’eau Pleine.”