Gateway to the Classics: Historic Poems and Ballads by Rupert S. Holland
Historic Poems and Ballads by  Rupert S. Holland

Dixie's Land and Dixie

T HE original song of "Dixie's Land" was written as a comic melody by Dan Emmett, a celebrated negro minstrel, in 1859. He is said to have taken the tune from an old plantation melody, and to have written verses to suit his audiences. When the Civil War began General Albert Pike wrote new words, calling on the South to arm and defend herself, and set these to the old air. The South at once claimed the song for her own, and it became the best loved of all the Southern ballads. Armies marched to it, and men went into battle singing it.

Many new verses have been written to the old melody, and the air is now as popular in the North as in the South. The words most generally associated with it now are those of the song by Dan Emmett, or variations on them, rather than the martial words of General Pike.

Dixie's Land

I wish I was in de land ob cotton,

Cimmon seed an' sandy bottom—

In Dixie's Land whar I was born in,

Early on one frosty mornin'.

Look away—look away—Dixie Land.

Den I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray—Hooray!

In Dixie's Land we'll take our stand

To lib and die in Dixie.

Old Missus marry Will de weaber,

William was a gay deceaber.

When he put his arms around 'er,

He look as fierce as a forty pounder.

His face was sharp like butcher's cleaber,

But dat didn't seem to grieb her;

Will run away—Missus took a decline, oh,

Her face was de color ob bacon rine—oh.

How could she act such a foolish part

As marry a man dat break her heart?

Here's a health to de next old Missus,

And all de gals dat wants to kiss us.

Now if you want to dribe away sorrow,

Come and hear dis song to-morrow!

Sugar in de gourd and stonny batter,

De whites grow fat an' de niggers fatter!

Den hoe it down and scratch your grabble,

To Dixie's Land I am bound to trabble.

Look away—look away—Dixie Land.

Den I wish I was in Dixie. Hooray! Hooray!

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