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James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

Up And Down Old Brandywine

Up and down old Brandywine,
In the days 'at's past and gone--
With a dad-burn hook-and line
And a saplin' pole--swawn!
I've had more fun, to the square
Inch, than ever ANYwhere!
Heaven to come can't discount MINE
Up and down old Brandywine!

Hain't no sense in WISHIN'--yit
Wisht to goodness I COULD jes
'Gee' the blame' world round and git
Back to that old happiness!--
Kindo' drive back in the shade
'The old Covered Bridge' there laid
'Crosst the crick, and sorto' soak
My soul over, hub and spoke!

Honest, now!--it hain't no DREAM
'At I'm wantin',--but THE FAC'S
As they wuz; the same old stream,
And the same old times, i jacks!--
Gim me back my bare feet--and
Stonebruise too!--And scratched and tanned!
And let hottest dog-days shine
Up and down old Brandywine!

In and on betwixt the trees
'Long the banks, pour down yer noon,
Kindo' curdled with the breeze
And the yallerhammer's tune;
And the smokin', chokin' dust
O' the turnpike at its wusst--
SATURD'YS, say, when it seems
Road's jes jammed with country teams!--

Whilse the old town, fur away
'Crosst the hazy pastur'-land,
Dozed-like in the heat o' day
Peaceful' as a hired hand.
Jolt the gravel th'ough the floor
O' the old bridge!--grind and roar
With yer blame percession-line--
Up and down old Brandywine!

Souse me and my new straw-hat
Off the foot-log!--what _I_ care?--
Fist shoved in the crown o' that--
Like the old Clown ust to wear.
Wouldn't swop it fer a' old
Gin-u-wine raal crown o' gold!--
Keep yer KING ef you'll gim me
Jes the boy I ust to be!

Spill my fishin'-worms! er steal
My best 'goggle-eye!'--but you
Can't lay hands on joys I feel
Nibblin' like they ust to do!
So, in memory, to-day
Same old ripple lips away
At my 'cork' and saggin' line,
Up and down old Bradywine!

There the logs is, round the hill,
Where 'Old Irvin' ust to lift
Out sunfish from daylight till
Dewfall--'fore he'd leave 'The Drift'
And give US a chance--and then
Kindo' fish back home again,
Ketchin' 'em jes left and right
Where WE hadn't got 'a bite!'

Er, 'way windin' out and in,--
Old path th'ough the iurnweeds
And dog-fennel to yer chin--
Then come suddent, th'ough the reeds
And cat-tails, smack into where
Them--air woods--hogs ust to scare
Us clean 'crosst the County-line,
Up and down old Brandywine!

But the dim roar o' the dam
It 'ud coax us furder still
To'rds the old race, slow and ca'm,
Slidin' on to Huston's mill--
Where, I'spect, 'The Freeport crowd'
Never WARMED to us er 'lowed
We wuz quite so overly
Welcome as we aimed to be.

Still it 'peared like ever'thing--
Fur away from home as THERE--
Had more RELISH-like, i jing!--
Fish in stream, er bird in air!
O them rich old bottom-lands,
Past where Cowden's Schoolhouse stands!
Up and down old Brandywine!

And sich pop-paws!--Lumps o' raw
Gold and green,--jes oozy th'ough
With ripe yaller--like you've saw
Custard-pie with no crust to:
And jes GORGES o' wild plums,
Till a feller'd suck his thumbs
Clean up to his elbows! MY!--

Up and down old Brandywine! ...
Stripe me with pokeberry-juice!--
Flick me with a pizenvine
And yell 'Yip!' and lem me loose!
--Old now as I then wuz young,
'F I could sing as I HAVE sung,
Song 'ud surely ring DEE-VINE
Up and down old Brandywine!

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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