Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie

“Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie” is said to be the most famous cowboy song. It was derived from a sea lament called “The Sailor’s Grave” or “The Ocean Burial” which began with the line: “O bury me not in the deep deep sea.”

A number of popular performers have recorded versions of “Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie” including Moe Bandy, Johnny Cash, Burl Ives, Tex Ritter and Roy Rogers. Some even turn the meaning around by saying “Bury Me Out On The Lone Prairie”

(Capo on the 4th fret)
[C] “O bury me not on the lone prairie.”
These words came [Dm] low and [G7] [C] mournfully
[C] From the pallid lips of the youth who lay
On his dying [Dm] bed at the [G7] close of [C] day.

He had wasted and pined ’til o’er his brow
Death’s shades were slowly gathering now
He thought of home and loved ones nigh,
As the cowboys gathered to see him die.

“O bury me not on the lone prairie
Where coyotes howl and the wind blows free
In a narrow grave just six by three—
O bury me not on the lone prairie”

“It matters not, I’ve been told,
Where the body lies when the heart grows cold
Yet grant, o grant, this wish to me
O bury me not on the lone prairie.”

“I’ve always wished to be laid when I died
In a little churchyard on the green hillside
By my father’s grave, there let me be,
O bury me not on the lone prairie.”

“I wish to lie where a mother’s prayer
And a sister’s tear will mingle there.
Where friends can come and weep o’er me.
O bury me not on the lone prairie.”

“For there’s another whose tears will shed.
For the one who lies in a prairie bed.
It breaks me heart to think of her now,
She has curled these locks, she has kissed this brow.”

“O bury me not…” And his voice failed there.
But they took no heed to his dying prayer.
In a narrow grave, just six by three
They buried him there on the lone prairie.

And the cowboys now as they roam the plain,
For they marked the spot where his bones were lain,
Fling a handful o’ roses o’er his grave
With a prayer to God his soul to save.