I was looking for a poem my grandfather use to quote. I believe it was from the late 1800's to early 1900's (as late as 1940.. maybe), as he had known it since he was young. All I can remember right now is "brawl on the bar room floor" or "ball room floor".. something along those lines. It's not "the Face on the Bar room floor. The poem was pretty long, and written in first person if I remember correctly. Any help would be great!
The Face on the Barroom Floor
--- Hugh Antoine D'Arcy
'TWAS a balmy summer evening, and a goodly crowd was there,
Which well-nigh filled Joe's barroom, on the corner of the square;
And as songs and witty stories came through the open door,
A vagabond crept slowly in and posed upon the floor.
"Where did it come from?" someone said. " The wind has blown it in."
"What does it want?" another cried. "Some whiskey, rum or gin?"
"Here, Toby, sic 'em, if your stomach's equal to the work --
I wouldn't touch him with a fork, he's filthy as a Turk."
This badinage the poor wretch took with stoical good grace;
In face, he smiled as tho' he thought he'd struck the proper place.
"Come, boys, I know there's kindly hearts among so good a crowd --
To be in such good company would make a deacon proud.
"Give me a drink -- that's what I want -- I'm out of funds, you know,
When I had cash to treat the gang this hand was never slow.
What? You laugh as if you thought this pocket never held a sou;
I once was fixed as well, my boys, as any one of you.
"There, thanks, that's braced me nicely; God bless you one and all;
Next time I pass this good saloon I'll make another call.
Give you a song? No, I can't do that; my singing days are past;
My voice is cracked, my throat's worn out, and my lungs are going fast.
"I'll tell you a funny story, and a fact, I promise, too.
Say! Give me another whiskey, and I'll tell what I'll do --
That I was ever a decent man not one of you would think;
But I was, some four or five years back. Say, give me another drink.
"Fill her up, Joe, I want to put some life into my frame --
Such little drinks to a bum like me are miserably tame;
Five fingers -- there, that's the scheme -- and corking whiskey, too.
Well, here's luck, boys, and landlord, my best regards to you.
"You've treated me pretty kindly and I'd like to tell you how
I came to be the dirty sot you see before you now.
As I told you, once I was a man, with muscle, frame, and health,
And but for a blunder ought to have made considerable wealth.
"I was a painter -- not one that daubed on bricks and wood,
But an artist, and for my age, was rated pretty good.
I worked hard at my canvas, and was bidding fair to rise,
For gradually I saw the star of fame before my eyes.
"I made a picture perhaps you've seen, 'tis called the `Chase of Fame.'
It brought me fifteen hundred pounds and added to my name,
And then I met a woman -- now comes the funny part --
With eyes that petrified my brain, and sunk into my heart.
"Why don't you laugh? 'Tis funny that the vagabond you see
Could ever love a woman, and expect her love for me;
But 'twas so, and for a month or two, her smiles were freely given,
And when her loving lips touched mine, it carried me to Heaven.
"Boys, did you ever see a girl for whom your soul you'd give,
With a form like the Milo Venus, too beautiful to live;
With eyes that would beat the Koh-i-noor, and a wealth of chestnut hair?
If so, 'twas she, for there never was another half so fair.
"I was working on a portrait, one afternoon in May,
Of a fair-haired boy, a friend of mine, who lived across the way.
And Madeline admired it, and much to my surprise,
Said she'd like to know the man that had such dreamy eyes.
"It didn't take long to know him, and before the month had flown
My friend had stole my darling, and I was left alone;
And ere a year of misery had passed above my head,
The jewel I had treasured so had tarnished and was dead.
"That's why I took to drink, boys. Why, I never see you smile,
I thought you'd be amused, and laughing all the while.
Why, what's the matter, friend? There's a tear-drop in you eye,
Come, laugh like me. 'Tis only babes and women that should cry.
"Say, boys, if you give me just another whiskey I'll be glad,
And I'll draw right here a picture of the face that drove me mad.
Give me that piece of chalk with which you mark the baseball score --
You shall see the lovely Madeline upon the barroon floor."
Another drink, and with chalk in hand, the vagabond began
To sketch a face that well might buy the soul of any man.
Then, as he placed another lock upon the shapely head,
With a fearful shriek, he leaped and fell across the picture -- dead.
Thanks Les. I am not sure if this is the one. Seems like it would have to be, since it is all I can find. I am just going to have to clear my head and try to read it the way my grandfather would of said it. It seems like I remember a "brawl" somewhere in the context of the poem. ANything else you can think of?
Probably not it, but here it is anyway
Duncan & Brady - Traditional
Duncan, Duncan was tending the bar
In walked Brady with a shining star
And Brady says, "Duncan you are under arrest"
And Duncan shot a hole in Brady's breast
Brady, Brady carried a .45,
Said it would shoot half a mile
Duncan had a .44
That what laid Mr. Brady so low
Brady fell down on the bar-room floor,
"Please Mr. Duncan don' shoot me no more"
Women all cryin', ain't it a shame,
Shot King Brady, goin' shoot him again
"Brady, Brady, Brady, you know you done wrong
Walkin' in the room when the game was goin' on
Knockin' down windows, breakin' down the door
Now you lyin' dead on the bar-room floor
Women all heard that Brady was dead,
Goes back home and they dresses in red
Come a sniffin' and a sighin' down the street,
In their big mother hubbards and their stockin' feet
'Cause he been on the job too long
Adrienne, according to google there are several different short stories and at least one song, with that title. The poem I cited above is the most well known of the bunch, it was very popular during the late 19th century.
How about this one?
The Shooting of Dan McGrew
A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon;
The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune;
Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew,
And watching his luck was his light-o'-love, the lady that's known as Lou.
When out of the night, which was fifty below, and into the din and the glare,
There stumbled a miner fresh from the creeks, dog-dirty, and loaded for bear.
He looked like a man with a foot in the grave and scarcely the strength
of a louse,
Yet he tilted a poke of dust on the bar, and he called for drinks
for the house.
There was none could place the stranger's face, though we searched ourselves
for a clue;
But we drank his health, and the last to drink was Dangerous Dan McGrew.
There's men that somehow just grip your eyes, and hold them hard like a spell;
And such was he, and he looked to me like a man who had lived in hell;
With a face most hair, and the dreary stare of a dog whose day is done,
As he watered the green stuff in his glass, and the drops fell one by one.
Then I got to figgering who he was, and wondering what he'd do,
And I turned my head -- and there watching him was the lady that's
known as Lou.
His eyes went rubbering round the room, and he seemed in a kind of daze,
Till at last that old piano fell in the way of his wandering gaze.
The rag-time kid was having a drink; there was no one else on the stool,
So the stranger stumbles across the room, and flops down there like a fool.
In a buckskin shirt that was glazed with dirt he sat, and I saw him sway;
Then he clutched the keys with his talon hands -- my God! but that man
Were you ever out in the Great Alone, when the moon was awful clear,
And the icy mountains hemmed you in with a silence you most could hear;
With only the howl of a timber wolf, and you camped there in the cold,
A half-dead thing in a stark, dead world, clean mad for the muck called gold;
While high overhead, green, yellow and red, the North Lights swept in bars? --
Then you've a hunch what the music meant. . . hunger and night and the stars.
And hunger not of the belly kind, that's banished with bacon and beans,
But the gnawing hunger of lonely men for a home and all that it means;
For a fireside far from the cares that are, four walls and a roof above;
But oh! so cramful of cosy joy, and crowned with a woman's love --
A woman dearer than all the world, and true as Heaven is true --
(God! how ghastly she looks through her rouge, -- the lady that's
known as Lou.)
Then on a sudden the music changed, so soft that you scarce could hear;
But you felt that your life had been looted clean of all that it once
That someone had stolen the woman you loved; that her love was a devil's lie;
That your guts were gone, and the best for you was to crawl away and die.
'Twas the crowning cry of a heart's despair, and it thrilled you through
and through --
"I guess I'll make it a spread misere", said Dangerous Dan McGrew.
The music almost died away ... then it burst like a pent-up flood;
And it seemed to say, "Repay, repay," and my eyes were blind with blood.
The thought came back of an ancient wrong, and it stung like a frozen lash,
And the lust awoke to kill, to kill ... then the music stopped with a crash,
And the stranger turned, and his eyes they burned in a most peculiar way;
In a buckskin shirt that was glazed with dirt he sat, and I saw him sway;
Then his lips went in in a kind of grin, and he spoke, and his voice was calm,
And "Boys," says he, "you don't know me, and none of you care a damn;
But I want to state, and my words are straight, and I'll bet my poke
That one of you is a hound of hell. . .and that one is Dan McGrew."
Then I ducked my head, and the lights went out, and two guns blazed
in the dark,
And a woman screamed, and the lights went up, and two men lay stiff and stark.
Pitched on his head, and pumped full of lead, was Dangerous Dan McGrew,
While the man from the creeks lay clutched to the breast of the lady that's
known as Lou.
These are the simple facts of the case, and I guess I ought to know.
They say that the stranger was crazed with "hooch," and I'm not denying
I'm not so wise as the lawyer guys, but strictly between us two --
The woman that kissed him and -- pinched his poke -- was the lady that's
known as Lou.
-- Robert W. Service