Theatrical Things.

Vanity Fair (UK), April 16, 1903


COLONEL CODY (Buffalo Bill) is retiring. The last performance of the Wild West Show in London has been given:

William, you’ve uttered your last farewell, a definite, sad good-bye.

Never again will your manly form loom large in the public eye;

Never again will the foeman quail as you take the arena (right),

Or the audience cheer as you vanish (left) from the stern Olympic fight.

Never again will our infants’ locks shoot up at the Indian whoop!

Or their petrified throats give a crow of relief at the sight of the rescuing troop.

Down, I fear, is the curtain rung on the Sioux and the Arrapahoe.

We have seen the last we shall ever see of your wonderful Wild West Show.

Things of the past are the cowboy games, the gallop at lightning pace,

The gay lassoing (which took some doing), the excellent bare-back race.

Now may the settler seek his hut with a heart that’s free from dread;

No more will Mr. Baker shoot as he stands on his manly head.

There’s gloom in the camp where there once was joy. The Arab drops a tear.

The Zouave groans at his daily drill, for he feels that the end is near.

The Cossack stifles a manly oath, the Mexican heaves a sigh,

The genial howl of the Brule is hushed; for, William, you’ve said good-bye.

You go to a life where the gun is not, where the saddle is laid aside,

Where the Deadwood Mail Coach never starts, where the cowboys never ride,

Where the Indians cease from troubling, and the bronchos rarely buck.

I fear that you’ll find it a trifle tame, but I wish you the best of luck.

For, William, whatever your walk in life, whatever the path you tread,

Though a frock-coat cover your wiry frame, and a tall silk hat your head,

Though you ride in a cab and not on a horse, though you lose your marksman’s skill,

To me at least you will not be changed—you will still be Buffalo Bill.



Published unsigned and untitled in Vanity Fair as part of the ‘Theatrical Things’ column; title “To Buffalo Bill” entered by Wodehouse in Money Received for Literary Work.