“The Face on the Barroom Floor”


A drunk enters a bar; he tells his story in exchange for drink. He was a painter, but his girlfriend saw a portrait he was painting, and took up with the fellow, then died. The singer turned to drink; he offers to draw her face on the floor, and dies

Supplemental text

Face on the Barroom Floor, The
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

The Face Upon the Floor

From Hazel Felleman, ed., The Best Loved Poems of the American
People (1936), pp. 149-151. Presumably from some other printed

'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 whisky, rum or gin?"
"Here, Toby, seek him, if your stomach's equal to the work --
I wouldn't touch him with a fork, he's as filthy as a Turk."

(15 additional stanzas)


Originally titled "The Face Upon the Floor," this qualifies as a folk song only in the sense that certain sorts of people are very fond of quoting it. It has been widely published; _Granger's Index to Poetry_ lists nine citations. - RBW


  • Harold Selman, "The Face on the Bar Room Floor, pts. 1 & 2" (OKeh 45249, 1928)


  1. JHJohnson, pp. 21-24, "The Face on the Barroom Floor" (1 text)
  2. Meredith/Covell/Brown, pp. 126-127, "The Face on the Bar Room Floor" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. ST JHJ021 (Partial)
  4. Roud #9123
  5. BI, JHJ021


Author: Hugh Antoine D'Arcy
Earliest date: 1887
Found in: US