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Sweet Betsy from Pike
Folk Song Lyrics and Sound Clip


Did you ever hear tell of sweet Betsy from Pike, 
Who crossed the wide mountains with her lover Ike?
With two yoke of oxen, a large yellow dog, 
A tall Shanghai rooster and one spotted hog. 
Singing too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-oo-ra-li-ay!

One evening quite early they camped on the Platte, 
’Twas near by the road on a green shady flat. 
Betsy, sore-footed, lay down to repose
With wonder, Ike gazed on that Pike County rose. 
Singing too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-oo-ra-li-ay!

They soon reached the desert where Betsy gave out,
And down in the sand she lay rolling about.
Ike in great wonder looked on in surprise,
Saying, "Betsy, get up, you'll get sand in your eyes."
Singing too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-oo-ra-li-ay!

Sweet Betsy got up in a great deal of pain.
She declared she'd go back to Pike County again.
Ike gave a sigh, and they fondly embraced,
And they traveled along with his arm round her waist.
Singing too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-oo-ra-li-ay!

The Shanghai ran off and the cattle all died,
That morning, the last piece of bacon was fried.
Ike got discouraged, and Betsy got mad,
The dog drooped his tail and looked wonderfully sad.
Singing too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-oo-ra-li-ay!

They swam the wide rivers and crossed the tall peaks,
And camped on the prairie for weeks upon weeks.
Starvation and cholera, hard work and slaughter;
They reached California 'spite hell and high water.
Singing too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-oo-ra-li-ay!
Singing too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-oo-ra-li-ay!



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