“Hostler Joe”


Hostler Joe and pretty Annie wed and have a child. After four years, though, a stranger lures Annie away from her home with promises of fame and fortune. Her beauty wins her fame, but both fade in time. Joe arrives as she is dying

Supplemental text

Hostler Joe
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

Ostler Joe

From Hazel Felleman, ed., The Best Loved Poems of the American
People (1936), pp. 176-178. Presumably from some other printed

I stood at eve, as the sun went down, by a grave where a woman lies,
Who lured men's souls to the shores of sin with the light of her wanton eyes;
Who sang the song that the Siren sang on the treacherous Lurley height,
Whose face was as fair as a summer day, and whose heart was as black as night.

In the summer, when the meadows were aglow with blue and red,
Joe, the hostler of the "Magpie," and fair Annie Smith were wed.
Plump was Annie, plump and pretty, with cheek as white as snow;
He was anything but handsome, was the "Magpie" hostler, Joe.

(Stanzas 1, 3 of 22)


If I were to use one word to describe this piece of moralizing tripe, the word would be

"sickening." Randolph remarks, "It is often recited by people of the same kind who recite 'The Face on the Barroom Floor.'"

Based on Hazel Felleman's _The Best Loved Poems of the American People_, it appears that the author's title of this is "Ostler Joe." But since Randolph's appears to be the only traditional collection (if it is truly traditional -- note the lack of a tune), I use his title. - RBW


  1. Randolph 830, "Hostler Joe" (1 text)
  2. ST R830 (Partial)
  3. Roud #7440
  4. BI, R830


Alternate titles: “Ostler Joe”
Author: Words: George Robert Sims
Earliest date: 1890 (Randolph)
Found in: US(So)