Abe Lincoln was a Good Old Man

Here’s one sent in by Jason from Maryland, who learned it in the early 80s:

Abe Lincoln was a good old man
jumped out the window with his dick in his hand
said “scuse me, ladies, gotta do my duty
drop your drawers and give me some booty.”

This seems to have spread around a lot – throwing Abe Lincoln into a rhyme almost always makes it funnier.

Some other similar Lincoln rhymes I’ve seen go

Abe Lincoln was a good old man
washed his face in a frying pan

and

Abe Lincoln was a good old soul
washed his face in a toilet bowl

I wouldn’t presume to guess how old this is; folklorists probably would have left it out of their books up until the 1960s (before then, even Iona Opie, who was no prude, was referring to “unprintable” rhymes). But all of these rhymes sound like variations (in some cases changing only the name) of “Old Dan Tucker,” one of the solid gold top hit songs of the 1830s:

Old Dan Tucker was a good old man
washed his face in a frying pan
combed his hair with a wagon wheel
born with a toothache in his heel

Bruce Springsteen recorded a rollicking, spirited version of the song on his wonderful We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions album. I assume that there were dirty verses going around by, say, the 1840s, though the word “booty” as a synonym for sex only goes back to about the 1920s. When Abe Lincoln started turning up in the song is probably anyone’s guess; the idea probably came to some kid who heard the song at camp and spread from there. I would say that by the 1980s, most of the kids singing the lines above had never heard “Old Dan Tucker.”

update: 2013:

Several comments indicate that a common ending to this (after “give me some booty”) were a couple of lines that come up in a number of playground rhymes, including Old MacDonald Sitting on a Fence

When I die, bury me
hang my balls from a cherry tree.

 This connects it to much older rhymes (even older than “Old Dan Tucker,”  including an old folk/blues song known as “When I Die,” which is included in a couple of early 20th century collections of such:

The Journal of American Folklore collected one like this from “mountain whites” in Tennessee in 1907:

When I die, bury me a tall
soak my body in alcohol
When I die, bury me deep
put a quart of liquor at my head and my feet

The same source traced another version to “Mississippi negroes” in 1908:

When I die, don’t bury my at all
preserve my bones in alcohol

Another version collected from a similar source (“Mississippi negroes”) around the same time went:

When I die, bury me deep
tell the gamblers I’ve gone to sleep
put a pair of bones in my right hand
and i’ll throw seven in the promised land.

A similar version collected in Alabama in 1915 was the same as the above, with “bottle of booze at my feet” substituting for the second line.

You see variations on this in lots of blues songs, “Dying Crapshooter’s Blues” by Blind Willie McTell comes right to mind (and I think he himself said he stole from all sorts of sources to make that song, which, itself, was similar to “St. James Infirmary Blues,” which itself grew out of even older songs like “The Unfortunate Rake,” “Streets of Laredo,” etc).  So what we’ve got here is basically a progression of a 16th century British ballad growing into a playground rhyme sung to the tune of Andrew Lloyd Weber.

There are entire books about how these particular songs grow into each other, including a couple at the right:

Now, it’s easy to make the inference here, based on the above examples, that despite the dates, the “negro” version came first, as “bury me a tall” is clearly a corruption of “don’t bury me at all.” However, figuring out which came first, and who’s appropriating from who, is just about impossible in these things. Those 19th/20th century folk and blues songs are just about the perfect example of a pure hybrid, as African rhythms mixed with European melodies. Since Pete Seeger died the other day, it seems like as good as time as any to mention that in 2000 I interviewed him over the phone on a radio show (my co-host, who’d been active in the folk world for ages, had his home phone number), and he said something about how the upside of our country’s abominable racial history is that it gave us this hybrid music: “Sometimes the call it rock, sometimes they call it folk, or gospel, or blues, or jazz….”

Which versions did you hear, and when?

(Visited 3,641 times, 2 visits today)

45 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    In reading an anthology, I found this:

    Abraham Lincoln was a good old soul
    He washed his face in the toilet bowl
    He jumped out the window with his d***
    in his hand,
    And said, "'Scuse me, ladies, I'm
    Superman!"

    The anthology doesn't mention a date, but says it is a skip-rope rhyme from Harlem.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    The one I heard goes something like this:

    Abraham lincoln was a good old man
    He jumped out the window with his dick in his hand
    He went to the doctor and the doctor said
    Sorry mother fucker but your dick is dead

    That was back in the mid 80's in Long Beach CA

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Orlando, Florida, 1990's.

    We just sang Old Dan Tucker as it was in olden days, and the 16th POTUS was nowhere to be found anywhere near the song.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    We used to recite this version in Cleveland Ohio in the 1960's…

    "Abraham Lincoln was a good old man
    He walked down the street with his dick in his hand
    He lined the girls up in the hall, then Abraham Lincoln fucked them all."

    Reply
  5. MNeira

    Abraham Lincoln was a good old man
    He washed his face with a frying pan
    Jumped out the window with his dick in his hand
    said scuse me ladies I'm a nasty old man

    When I die, bury me
    Hang my balls on a cherry tree
    When they grow, let me know
    I'll be listening on the radio

    Washington D.C. (late 70's, early 80's)

    Reply
  6. Anonymous

    My mama and 2 of my cousins told me this one…

    Abraham Lincoln was a good old man,
    He jumped out the window with his dick in his hand.
    He went up to a lady saying,"just doing my duty.
    So pull down your pants and give me some booty."

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    Long Beach NY, 1980's

    Abraham Lincoln was a good old man
    He washed his face with a frying pan
    Jumped out the window with his dick in his hand
    said hey motherfucker I'm superman

    When I die, bury me
    Hang my balls on a cherry tree
    When they're ripe, take a bite
    Hey motherfucking I'm dynamite

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    Abraham Lincoln was a good old man
    He shot 2 chicks with a rubber band
    he ran down the hill with 2 dicks in his hand
    and said motherfucker i'm superman

    sorry dont kno the date

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    Seattle, early 1980s:

    Abraham Lincoln was a good old man
    Fried his dick in a fryin' pan
    Said "When I die, bury me,
    "Hang my balls on a cherry tree,
    Pick them off and take a bite,
    An' tell me if they taste all right!"

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    Philadelphia, early 2000's

    Abraham Lincolon was a good ol' man
    He shot two tiddies with a rubberband
    He jumped out the window with a dick in his hand
    And said "Hi everybody, I'm superman!"

    Reply
  11. Anonymous

    aberham lincol was a good old man
    he fried his balls in the frying pan
    he jumped out the window with his balls in his hand
    he said eww baby ill trade you my city if i can suxk your titty 1990 suburban playground

    Reply
  12. Anonymous

    late 90's early 2000's New york city

    abraham lincoln was a good old man
    he got shot in the butt with a rubber band
    he jumped out the window with a cape in his hand
    and said hey im superman

    Reply
  13. Anonymous

    Heard it about 1989 (2nd grade), Tracy, California:

    old abe lincoln was a good old man
    he washed his face in a frying pan
    he jumped out the window with his dick in his hand
    and yelled "hey motherfucker, I'm a mean jungle man!"

    Reply
  14. Anonymous

    Abraham Lincoln was a good old man

    Walkin' down the street with his dick in his hand

    He said "hey, lady, I'm doin' my duty,
    so pull down your pants and gimme some booty!"

    (As Jo Eller used to chant it at Thompson Park)

    Reply
  15. Anonymous

    Abraham Lincoln was a good old man
    His dick got shot by a rubber band
    He went to the doctor and the doctor said,
    "Sorry, motherfucker, but your dick is dead."

    Reply
  16. Anonymous

    I heard that in 1995 in Escondido, CA

    Reply
  17. Chris

    Abraham Lincoln was a good, old man
    He shot three dicks with a rubber band
    He broke a window with a dick in his hand and said
    “Hey, motherfucker, I’m superman!

    Heard c. 1998, Miami, Fl

    Reply
  18. Anonymous

    Abraham Lincoln was a good man,
    Stuck his dick in a fryin pan,
    Jumped out the window with his dick in his hand sayin
    Hey motherfucker I'm Superman!

    (NYC early 80's)

    Reply
  19. Anonymous

    Theres that one that says :
    You're an Old Monkey with a White Hunky
    You're and Old Jew, Why don't you try somethink new
    You're an Old Jap and You need to be slapped
    Cause, this is this and that is that
    ..And if you don't like that you can kiss my ass…
    I said if you don't like that you can kiss my ass
    Hank Jr song

    Reply
  20. Anonymous

    Abraham Lincoln was a good old man,
    You can catch him stuffin children in a pedophile van.
    He once got caught by the kids old man
    And he chopped his Dick off as fast as he can

    Kasey Perkins

    Reply
  21. Anonymous

    I went in a time machine and gave Abraham lincoln a blumpkin 😉 josh sova

    Reply
  22. Anonymous

    Abraham Lincoln was the king of the Jews
    Wiped his ass with the Daily News
    Jumped out the window with his dick in his hand
    and said "Hey motherfucker I'm Superman!"

    Late 80's NYC

    Reply
  23. Anonymous

    Connecticut, early 80s:
    Abraham Lincoln was a good old man
    Washed his face in a frying pan
    Jumped out the window with his dick in his hand
    And said, excuse me maam I'm Superman.

    Reply
  24. Anonymous

    Southern California, late 80s:
    Abraham Lincoln was a good ol' man,
    fried his balls in a fryin' pan.
    Girl- take off your pants and do the boogy dance.
    If I die,
    bury me,
    hang my balls on a cherry tree.
    When they're ripe,
    take a bite,
    and don't complain if they don't taste right

    Reply
  25. Anonymous

    Northeast Alabama, late 80s
    Abraham Lincoln, king of the jews.
    He wore flip flop britches and brogan shoes.
    He went upstairs to make his bed.
    Tripped over the shitpot and hit his head.
    He couldn't swim and he couldn't float,
    so all the shit went down his throat.

    Reply
    1. Bob Hagan

      Abraham Lincoln, king of the Jews,
      he wore black britches and white tennis shoes.
      He’s a mean motherfucker from the Congo Land…
      swings through the trees with his dick in his hand.
      The first time I saw him … and I haven’t seen him since,
      he was jackin’ off a nigger through a barbed wire fence.

      Reply
  26. Anonymous

    I have heard young'uns saying this not too long ago.
    Old Abe Lincoln was a good old soul, had a buckskin belly and a rubber ass-hole. He swallowed a barrel of cider down and then he shit all over town.

    Reply
  27. Anonymous

    Abraham Licoln was a nice old man,
    He Jumped out the window with a gun in his hand
    and said: shoot me baby cos I'm superman

    Reply
  28. Anonymous

    Wilmington, Delaware, Late 80's:
    Abraham Lincoln was a very good guy
    He jumped out the window, to see if he could fly
    He ran up the stairs, Did a 94
    Let off a big one and blew down the door

    Reply
  29. Anonymous

    Mid 1960's New York City

    Abraham Lincoln was a good old man,
    Washed his hand in a frying pan,
    He flew out the window with his d– in his hand,
    Excuse me lady, I'm superman.

    I was walking down the jungle with my d in my hand,
    I looked up a tree and what do I see,
    I saw a " MF trying to p– on me
    So I pick up a rock, and I hit him is his C–
    and I never saw that mf again around my block

    Reply
  30. J. Divine

    My uncle had a dirtier version of this without Abe Lincoln being mentioned.

    Runnin' through the jungle with my d—in my hand
    Said, "Excuse me lady, I'm a jungle man."
    Saw a hundred women up against the wall,
    Jacked off, turned around and f—ed them all!
    Got to 98 and then my balls turned blue,
    So I took an Alka Seltzer and I f—ed the other two.

    This was Colorado, ca. mid '60s

    Reply
  31. Claude Coats

    Abraham Lincohn was a good 'ol man
    He got shot in the balls with a rubber band
    Jumped out of the window with his balls in his hands
    Hey, mother fucker, Im superman!!!

    Reply
  32. pennyrobinsonfanclub.net

    Connecticut, early 70s-

    Largely the same, only with Casey Jones instead of Lincoln:
    Casey Jones was a son of a bitch
    Got his education form a whorehouse bitch
    Flew through the window etc.

    Reply
  33. LizFW

    President Lincoln was a very good man
    he jumped out the window with his d-k in his hand
    He said "when i die, bury me.."
    "and hang my balls in a cherry tree"

    (Harlem, New York City, late 70's)

    Reply
  34. TheresaG

    New Jersey, early 70's. Abraham Lincoln was king of the Jews, he wore be bop clothes and tennis shoes. He flew thru the air with a Dick in his hand, and said "Pardon me ma'am I'm an African man". He saw a motherfucker sitting in a tree said pardon me man your pissin on me. So he chucked up a rock and hit him in the cock and he fell 40,000 miles straight down.

    Reply
  35. j. stewart

    culver city, ca early 80's
    Abraham Lincoln was a good ole man
    jumped out the window with his dick in his hand
    said excuse me lady just doing my duty
    so turn around and gimme some booty
    when I die don't bury me
    hang my balls from a cherry tree
    if they fall
    don't play ball
    take em back to city hall.

    Reply
  36. PJ Garrison

    This one is not related to the "Dan Tucker" version but is instead a jump-rope song:

    Lincoln, Lincoln
    I've been thinkin'
    What on earth have you been drinking?
    Smells like whiskey
    Taste's like wine
    Oh my god, it's turpentine!

    Elementary school, California bay area, early 80s.

    Reply
  37. Allen Sorensen

    Abraham Lincoln was a good ass man
    Jumped out the window with his dick in his hand
    *memory is fuzzy at this point*
    He said, "Hey, my ladies, marry me! Then hang my balls on the Christmas Tree! If they fall, don't play ball, send them back to City Hall!"

    Canoga Park, California mid-late 1980s

    Reply
  38. Mason Salese

    Long island, NY 1970's
    The very original:

    I'm Abraham Lincoln king of the Jews,
    I wear alligator boots and naked shoes.
    I walk around with my dick in my hand
    and say hey mother fucker I'm superman!

    When I die, bury me,
    Hang my balls from the cherry tree.
    When they're ripe, take a bite,
    Hey motherfucker I'm dynamite!

    Reply
  39. Unknown

    Abraham Lincoln was a good old man,
    Jumped out the window with his dick in his hand,
    Said 'scuse me ladies, gotta pee
    Hang my balls from a cherry tree
    When they're ripe
    Take a bite
    Don't they taste
    Dyno-Mite (a la jimmy walker)
    Late 70's Los Angeles

    Reply
  40. Anonomys

    Abraham Lincoln was the king of the Jews he wore combat boots and alligator shoes
    when I die bury me hang my balls from the cherry tree when they grow let me know cause I’ll be singing on the radio
    walked around the corner what do I see big hairy fucker trying to pee on me so I picked up a rock hit him in the cock boy that fucker ran a hell of a block!

    Reply
  41. Revci

    Heard this often when I lived in housing projects in small town in rural central Louisiana…
    Abraham Lincoln was a good old man,
    Jumped out the window with his dick in his hand.
    Said excuse me ladies, I’m doing my duty
    So pull down your pants and give me some booty

    Reply
  42. Revci

    The above was in the early 80s

    Reply
  43. Anthony Torres

    early 80’s: The Bronx, NY

    Abraham Lincoln was a good old man,
    He jumped out the window with his dick in his hand,
    said “excuse me ma’am but I’m Superman!
    When I die,
    get me buried,
    put my balls on a cherry tree,
    if they grow – let me know –
    and my momma will buy me a tootsie-roll”

    Reply
  44. Gpotts

    Abraham Lincoln was the king of the jews, he wore long cotton drawers and be bop shoes, he stepped on a train with his dick in his hand and said suck me baby, I’m superman!

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *