The Hoosier Fiddle




The Hoosier Fiddle
Indianapolis Star
, July 31, 1911

[transcribed by Steve Green; some end of line punctuation added]


Bring up your Hoosier Fiddle
And play me the rollicking reels
That give such joy to the country boy
And shake the old farmer’s heels.
Put by the waltz and the schottische
And the operatic airs,
And give me a whirl with the Hoosier girl
To the tunes that ease my cares.

Set the wild “Gray Eagle” screaming,
Let the “Rye Straw” tickle my ear,
Rip up the stitches of “Leather Breeches”
With the horns of “The Forked Deer.”
Chase the “Possum Up a Gum Stump”
From “Natchez Under the Hill,”
Wave the “Mullen Stalk” from “Hanging Rock”
O’er “The Sunk Lands” dark and still.

Then fiddle me down in “Clear Crick”
To the “Burnt Woods” echoing floors,
While the current rolls o’er “Mussel Shoals”
And into “Broad Ripple” pours,
Then stir up “Hell on the Wabash,”
Let us hear “Five Miles Out of Town.”
The “Jay bird” when the “Cackling Hen”
The “Black Cats” wail shall drown.

In the “Awkard Reel” comes dancing
“Sally Goodin” and rough “Buck Horn,”
And “The Wagoner” passes by waving grasses
And the rustle of “Yaller Corn.”
With “Billy in the Low Grounds,”
The “Injun Crick” we ford,
Then “Jump Up Joe” for still, you know,
There’s “Sugar in the Gourd.”

Then tune for the rich fantasias,
“Big Piney” so plaintive and slow;
Let the “Wild Goose” call and the echoes fall
From the “Walls of Jericho.”
So come to the rare “Lost Injun”
And play it again and again,
Let its golden streams flow on in my dreams,
And play no others then.

I listen and dream of my boyhood,
In the heart of the Hoosier hills,
And merrily roar the group at the store
As the fiddle their memory thrills;
I think of the farmer singing
When the dinner is on the fire,
And the strange wild calls the fiddler bawls
While the dancers never tire.

So bring up your resonant fiddle
And play for me far in the night,
Till the cares of the day are swept away
And sorrow has taken flight.
For in all the heaven of music,
No sweeter melody swells
Than the fiddle sings from the dialect strings
Where the happy Hoosier dwells.


RICHARD LEW DAWSON