“The Tramp (II)”


"I'm a broken-down man without money or friends... I wisht I had never been born." The tramp reports that people constantly tell him to get a job, but none will offer a job. He recalls another tramp thrown off a train and killed on the track


Cohen theorizes that this started as two songs, one about a tramp who can't find work, the other about a tramp thrown from a train and killed. As evidence he prints a version which lacks the dying tramp stanzas. This seems not unlikely, but until we find a version of the song with the tramp thrown from the train *without* the other part, there isn't much point in splitting. - RBW

Cross references


  • Jack Edwards, "The Tramp" (Supertone 9711, 1930)
  • McGee Brothers, "The Tramp" (Vocalion 5171, 1927)


  1. Cohen-LSRail, pp. 347-350, "Because He Was Only a Tramp" (2 texts, 1 tune)
  2. Dean, p. 71, "The Tramp's Lament" (1 text)
  3. Randolph 843, "The Tramp" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Greenleaf/Mansfield 48, "Broken-Down Sport" (1 text)
  5. Roud #4305
  6. BI, R843


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1927 (recording, McGee Brothers); a version was printed c. 1880 in _De Marsan's Singer's Journal_
Found in: US(MW,So) Canada(Newf)