Listen, in every heart there burns a flame,
For the love of glory and the dread of shame.
But oh, how happy we would be if we understood,
That there is no safety but in doing good.
People out west heard that John Henry's dead,
Couldn't hardly stay in bed, couldn't hardly stay in bed
Monday morning on the eastbound train,
Going where John Henry’s dead, going where John Henry‘s dead.
Carried John Henry to the graveyard,
Looked at him good and long,
Very last words I heard his poor wife say,
My husband he is dead and gone, my husband he is dead and gone.
John Henry's wife wore a brand new dress,
It was all trimmed in blue,
Very last words I heard that poor gal say,
Johnny, I been true to you, Johnny I been true to you.
Now the shaker said to John Henry
Lord, shake while I swing,
Swinging the hammer from my shoulder,
Bound to hear her when she rings, bound to hear her when she rings.
John Henry hammered on the mountain,
Till the hammer caught on fire,
Very last words I heard that poor boy say,
Gimme cool drink of water 'fore I die, cool drink of water 'fore I die.
Traditional, adapted and arranged by Jack Elliott
(as it appears on the album Folkland Songs)