Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie

July 28, 2006 at 4:12 pm 4 comments

This is one of several old “cowboy songs” we learned way back in elementary school. The combined third grade classes did a whole program of them (I’m guessing in late winter/early spring, around rodeo season), and this is one of the ones that I still remember — thirty some-odd years later.

“O bury me not on the lone prairie”
These words came low and mournfully
From the pallid lips of the youth who lay
On his dying bed at the close of day

He had wailed in pain till o’er his brow
The Shadow of Death was gathering now
He thought of his home and his loved ones nigh
As the cowboys gathered to see him die

“O bury me not on the lone prairie
Where the wild coyote will howl o’er me
Where the buffalo roams the prairie sea
O bury me not on the lone prairie”

“It matters not, so I’ve been told
Where the body lies when life grows cold
But grant, I pray, one wish to me
O bury me not on the lone prairie”

“I’ve often wished to be laid when I die
By the little church on the green hillside
By my father’s grave, there let mine be
O bury me not on the lone prairie”

The cowboys gathered all around the bed
To hear the last word that their comrade said
O partners all, take a warning from me
Never leave your homes for the lone prairie”

“Don’t listen to the enticing words
Of the men who own droves and herds
For if you do, you’ll rue the day
That you left your homes for the lone prairie”

“O bury me not,” but his voice failed there
But we paid no head to his dying prayer
In a narrow grave, just six by three
We buried him there on the lone prairie

We buried him there on the lone prairie
Where the buzzards fly and the wind blows free
Where rattlesnakes rattle and the tumbleweeds
Blow across his grave on the lone prairie

And the cowboys now as they cross the plains
Have marked the spot where his bones are lain
Fling a handful of roses on his grave
And pray to the Lord that his soul be saved

The moon comes up when the sun goes down
And it lights the grave where we laid him down
His pale young face never more we’ll see
We buried him there on the lone prairie

Click here for a few more kid-friendly “cowboy songs.”


Entry filed under: Cowboy Songs, Folk Songs.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jand C. Martin, Ph D  |  March 18, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    This listing is great. I a so happy to find the words to “Bury me not on the lone prairie.” Do you know where I can access the music either written or played?

  • 3. Kyle  |  March 18, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    I imagine if you do a music title search on Amazon.com you can probably find an old recording or two of this old song. I did find a nice performance of it on YouTube by Cal Watkins, if you just want to see/hear the song played and sung.

  • 4. Genevieve  |  January 30, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    This song is so beautiful and the lyrics are so sad. Thank you for posting this! It’s a wonderful song for any cowboys. 🙂 Thanks again!


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