(from the singing of Bascom Lamar Lunsford
who said his father sang this c.1890)

Wilkes Booth came to Washington, an actor great was he 
He played at Ford's Theater, and Lincoln went to see
It was early in April, not many weeks ago
The people of this fair city all gathered at the show

	The war it is over, the people happy now
	And Abraham Lincoln arose to make his bow

The people cheer him wildly, arising to their feet
And Lincoln waving of his hand, he calmly takes his seat
And while he sees the play go on, his thoughts are running deep
His darling wife, close by his side, has fallen fast asleep

	From the box there hangs a flag, it is not the Stars and Bars
	The flag there holds within its folds bright gleaming Stripes and Stars

J. Wilkes Booth moves down the aisle he had measured once before 
He passes Lincoln's bodyguard a-nodding at the door

	He holds a dagger in his right hand, a pistol in his left
	He shoots poor Lincoln in the temple, and sends his soul to rest

The wife awakes from slumber, and screams all in her rage
Booth jumps over the railing, and lands him on the stage

	He'll rue the day, he'll rue the hour, as God him life shall give
	When Booth stood in the center stage, crying "Tyrants shall not live!"

The people all excited then, cried everyone "A hand!"
And cried all the people "For God's sake, save that man!"

	Then Booth ran back with boot and spur across the back stage floor 
	He mounts that trusty claybank mare all saddled at the door

J. Wilkes Booth in his last play, all dressed in broadcloth deep 
He gallops down the alleyway, I hear those horse's feet

	Poor Lincoln then was heard to say, ere he has gone to rest 
	"Of all the actors in this town, I loved Wilkes Booth the best"

recording: Bascom Lamar Lunsford [Library of Congress]

liner notes: Assassination of Presidents [Library of Congress]

notes: details of Lincoln's assassination [The Weekly View]

notes: photo of John Wilkes Booth as Mark Antony with his brothers as Brutus and Cassius [Wikipedia]