by Captain Jack Crawford
I can sit on a bronco’s hurricane deck,
When he bucks as high as the moon;
But beat my skin if you’ll get me in
To an untamed Yankee balloon,
That goes like a Winchester rifle shot,
Up toward heaven’s back garden spot.
I have run some risks on the wild frontier,
When the reds were about in the land,
But to jump in the air from away up there
Would exhaust my supply of sand.
You bet I’d hang to that old balloon,
If she bumped herself against the moon.
Supposin’ that overgrown parasol
‘D’ happen to make a kick,
An’ fail to do as he wanted it to -
He’d be dumped to the earth too quick,
And sink so deep that his friends no doubt
Would go to China to dig him out.
I sorter hoped that the old baloon
‘D’ refuse to straddle the clouds,
But he meant to stay when he cut her away
Tho’ he landed to fill a shroud.
An’ sooner or later, you hear me tot,
He’ll break his neck from that parachute.
An’ if I’m around when the corpse comes back,
And is laid on his last low bed,
And the soft winds sigh a sweet lullaby
O’er the poor balloonatic’s head,
I hardly think it will be amiss,
To write him an epitaph just like this:
"Here lies the body of one who flew
Like a meteor up toward heaven’s blue.
And then, with a reckless sort o’ grace,
Flew just as fast toward the other place.
He changed so often it’s hard to tell
Whether upon his final scoot
He works a balloon or a parachute."
Respectfully dedicated to that princely aerial balloonatic, Professor Leonard, by his fool brother, - JACK (Once a Good Scout - Now a "Sour Dough Dawsonite")
Dawson Daily News, August 30 1899
Return to John Leonard, Klondike Balloonist