Ben the Coachman


“Ben the Coachman,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed June 22, 2024,

Social Bookmarking


Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>


Ben the Coachman


This item is part of the I. G. Greer Folksong Collection which consists of more than 300 individual song titles and their variants as collected by Isaac Garfield Greer (1881-1967) from informants, primarily in Ashe, Wilkes and Watauga counties. The collection includes manuscripts, typescript transcriptions produced by Dr. Greer’s clerical staff, and handwritten musical notations. Songs range from traditional Child Ballads, traditional English and Scottish ballads as well as their American variants, to 19th century popular music to musical compositions of local origin.


Folk songs
Coach drivers--Songs and music
Devil--Songs and music
Repentance--Songs and music


W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University


Greer, I. G. (Isaac Garfield), 1881-1967








Ben the Coachman

Ben was a hackney Coachman an,
Who for the future had not a care,
How he'd swear, and how he'd drive
Number two hundred and twenty-five!

Ben, do you see, was one of this kind,
Who for the future did not mind,
One day he kept his horses smarting,
And never once thought of fines or martin.

Next a gunman did approach,
All dressed in black, and called his coach,
And, as I heard old Benny tell,
His breath breathed forth a sulphurous smell.

The devil jumped into the coach alive,
Pray now, sir, where shall I drive?
Old Beelzebub wanting to cut as well,
Why, Ben, says he, drive down to hell.

He held a bag in his left claw,
To show that he was of the law,
And although he was mighty civil,
Ben very well knew he was the devil.

But stop, says he, what [sic] is your fare?
Why twenty pounds to drive you there.
Old Lucifer paid it with a grin,
For he thought as how he'd hook Ben in.

Then off the horses went full mell,
Nor stopped till they got to the gates of hell,
Ben would not go first in the gulph of sin,
So he turned his horses, and backed the devil in.

Now Ben jumped up for to return
Com back come back - your coach I will burn,
My coach and my horses may go to pot,
For they are insured, but I am not.

Then off the horses went quite fast,
Nor stopped till they got to their home at last,
Now Ben's grown rich, he never swears,
And for the devil he never cares.

File name


Social Bookmarking


Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>