Up and Down Old Brandywine

James Whitcomb Riley

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!