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  • From:USA
  • Register:11/11/2008 8:17 AM

Date Posted:02/17/2009 7:12 PMCopy HTML

"When The Mississip' Was The Great Highway"
I'm a guest on shore with you gents tonight,
Where the smoke is thick and the wine is bright, 
But my thoughts go back to the long ago,
And the river that sings to the sea below!

I'll tell you the story as best I can,
For I'm only a weather-worn river man,
But the world was sweet and its joys were real,
To the men who stood at the steering wheel;
And I've not forgot how it used to be,
In the good old days that are gone for me,
For the pulse beat fast and the heart was gay,
When the Mississip' was the great highway!
Ah! those were the days when the red blood ran
In the fevered veins of a river man,
And those were the days when your honor, suh,
Meant more than it does in the days that are!
If a slur was cast on a woman's name,
Or the lie was passed in a poker game,
It was knife to knife ere the morning sun,
And a new-made grave for the weaker one.
I carry the mark of a bowie here,
In a long, red scar near the labored ear,
For we fought together at break of day,
When the Mississip' was the great highway!
If I sigh sometimes for the vanished years,
And my eyes grow dim with the mist of tears,
It is not because of the changing ways,
And it's not regret for the river days!

But I miss the ones who have gone to sleep,
Where the hill dips down to the waters deep,
And I mourn a friend who in life was rare--
Old Davy Dip who is anchored there.

They were true to me as the stars are true,
And their smiles like sunshine sifted through,
To brighten the gloom of a stormy day,
When the Mississip' was the great highway!

So I dream tonight o'er my pipe and glass--
A dream of the boats as they used to pass;
The song of the river's in everything,
As the whistle blows for the bridge to swing!

I can see the lights as we're drifting down--
The lights of home in the sleeping town,
And I miss the crews that will sail no more,
As I miss the face of a girl on shore.

But I pledge them all in the sparking wine,
As memory singeth of auld lange syne,
And I drink to years ere the head was gray,
When the Mississip' was the great highway!
by Robert Rexdale
The above saying was taken from the Streckfus
Steamers magazine-dated 1934-1935
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