November 22, 2012

Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Though she was an ardent abolitionist, a novelist, and a prolific author, Lydia Maria Child is best remembered for one poem. She was a household name for the better part of the 19th century; most people in the 21st only have a vague recollection of the song originally presented as the poem usually titled "A New England Boy's Song (About Thanksgiving)," first published in 1844:

Over the river and through the wood,
   To grandfather's house we go;
      The horse knows the way
      To carry the sleigh
   Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river and through the wood —
   Oh, how the wind does blow!
      It stings the toes
      And bites the nose,
   As over the ground we go.

Over the river and through the wood,
   To have a first-rate play.
      Hear the bells ring,
      "Ting-a-ling-ding!"
   Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river and through the wood
   Trot fast, my dapple-gray!
      Spring over the ground,
      Like a hunting-hound!
   For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river and through the wood,
   And straight through the barn-yard gate.
      We seem to go
      Extremely slow,—
   It is so hard to wait!

Over the river and through the wood —
   Now grandmother's cap I spy!
      Hurrah for the fun!
      Is the pudding done?
   Hurrah for the pumpkin-pie!

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