Charlie Rutlage


Ives’s humorous cowboy song “Charlie Rutlage,” based on a text collected by John A. Lomax, is a graphic description of a cowpuncher who meets his death during a spring roundup.


The audio recording, provided in the audio player to the right, features Thomas Hampson, baritone, and Craig Rutenberg, piano. This song was recorded for Instant Encore as part of American Public Media's Performance Today series, presented by Classical Minnesota Public Radio. To listen, please click on the track name itself. You can download a recording of this entire recital for free through the Instant Encore website with the download code: THSOA2009.

Charlie Rutlage

Another good cowpuncher has gone to meet his fate,
I hope he'll find a resting place, within the golden gate.
Another place is vacant on the ranch of the X I T,
'Twill be hard to find another that's liked as well as he.
The first that died was Kid White, a man both tough and brave,
While Charlie Rutlage makes the third to be sent to his grave,
Caused by a cowhorse falling, while running after stock;
'Twas on the spring round up, a place where death men mock,
He went forward one morning on a circle through the hills,
He was gay and full of glee, and free from earthly ills;
But when it came to finish up the work on which he went,
Nothing came back from him; his time on earth was spent.
'Twas as he rode the round up, a XIT turned back to the herd;
Poor Charlie shoved him in again, his cutting horse he spurred;
Another turned; at that moment his horse the creature spied
And turned and fell with him, beneath poor Charlie died,
His relations in Texas his face never more will see,
But I hope he'll meet his loved ones beyond in eternity,
I hope he'll meet his parents, will meet them face to face,
And that they'll grasp him by the right hand at the shining throne of grace.

Audio PLaylist