Old Indiany

James Whitcomb Riley


  Old Indiany, 'course we know
  Is first, and best, and most, also,
  Of all the States' whole forty-four:--
  She's first in ever'thing, that's shore!--
  And best in ever'way as yet
  Made known to man; and you kin bet
  She's most, because she won't confess
  She ever was, or will be, less!
  And yet, fer all her proud array
  Of sons, how many gits away!--
  No doubt about her bein' great,
  But, fellers, she's a leaky State!
  And them that boasts the most about
  Her, them's the ones that's dribbled out.
  Law! jes' to think of all you boys
  'Way over here in Illinoise
  A-celebratin', like ye air,
  Old Indiany, 'way back there
  In the dark ages, so to speak,
  A-prayin' for ye once a week
  And wonderin' what's a-keepin' you
  From comin', like you ort to do.
  You're all a-lookin' well, and like
  You wasn't "sidin' up the pike,"
  As the tramp-shoemaker said
  When "he sacked the boss and shed
  The blame town, to hunt fer one
  Where they didn't work fer fun!"
  Lookin' extry well, I'd say,
  Your old home so fur away.--
  Maybe, though, like the old jour.,
  Fun hain't all yer workin' fer.
  So you've found a job that pays
  Better than in them old days
  You was on The Weekly Press,
  Heppin' run things, more er less;
  Er a-learnin' telegraph-
  Operatin', with a half-
  Notion of the tinner's trade,
  Er the dusty man's that laid
  Out designs on marble and
  Hacked out little lambs by hand,
  And chewed finecut as he wrought,
  "Shapin' from his bitter thought"
  Some squshed mutterings to say,--
  "Yes, hard work, and porer pay!"
  Er you'd kind o' thought the far-
  Gazin' kuss that owned a car
  And took pictures in it, had
  Jes' the snap you wanted--bad!
  And you even wondered why
  He kep' foolin' with his sky-
  Light the same on shiny days
  As when rainin'.  ('T leaked always.)
  Wondered what strange things was hid
  In there when he shet the door
  And smelt like a burnt drug store
  Next some orchard-trees, i swan!
  With whole roasted apples on!
  That's why Ade is, here of late,
  Buyin' in the dear old state,--
  So's to cut it up in plots
  Of both town and country lots.

James Whitcomb Riley did love Old Indiany. He was an Indiana man through and through. Known as the Hoosier Poet, He was born, lived and died in Indiana. He wrote many poems about Indiana, its landscapes, weather, seasons, people and places. Much of the poetry is in Indiana dialect.

Main Location:

Indiana, USA