≡ Menu

Hymns of the Morning: Shenandoah — “The provenance of the song is unclear”


Arlo Guthrie Featuring paintings by Albert Bierstadt, George Catlin, Frederick Remington, Howard Terpning, and visual arts by Spadecaller.

There are no “official” or traditional hymns of praise for Thanksgiving. This one, however, will do and do nicely.

“The lyrics tell the story of a roving trader in love with the daughter of an Indian chief; in this interpretation, the rover tells the chief of his intent to take the girl with him far to the west, across the Missouri River. Other interpretations tell of a pioneer’s nostalgia for the Shenandoah River Valley in Virginia, or of a Confederate soldier in the American Civil War, dreaming of his country home in Virginia. The provenance of the song is unclear.”

SHENANDOAH
[There are many verses and variations.]

The Missouri, she’s a mighty river
Away you rolling river
The red man’s camp lies on her borders
Away, we’re bound away across the wide
Missouri

A white man loved an Indian maiden
Away you rolling river
With notions sweet his canoe was laden
Away, we’re bound away across the wide
Missouri

O Shenandoah, I love your daughter
Away you rolling river
I’ll take her ‘cross the rolling water
Away, we’re bound away across the wide
Missouri

The chief disdained the trader’s dollars
Away you rolling river
My daughter never you shall follow
Away, we’re bound away across the wide
Missouri

At last there came a Yankee skipper
Away you rolling river
He winked his eye, and he tipped his flipper
Away, we’re bound away across the wide
Missouri

He sold the chief that fire-water
Away you rolling river
And ‘cross the river he stole his daughter
Away, we’re bound away across the wide
Missouri

O Shenandoah, I long to hear you
Away you rolling river
Across the wide and rolling water
Away, we’re bound away across the wide
Missouri

Alert the Authorities!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Rob De Witt November 22, 2017, 12:51 PM

    There are no “official” or traditional hymns of praise for Thanksgiving.

    I beg to differ:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB7M4RNi024

  • Bunny November 22, 2017, 3:29 PM
  • Uncle Max November 22, 2017, 6:30 PM

    ” no official hymns of praise for Thanksgiving…”

    uh… cough, cough… Alice’s Restaurant

  • Casey Klahn November 22, 2017, 7:37 PM

    I like Arlo’s version just fine, but I love TEFord’s rendition. This song I heard performed by the high school band this month at the Veterans Day ceremony.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  • Millie_woods November 23, 2017, 3:22 PM

    Nice, but I prefer Dylan’s cover.

  • Doug November 23, 2017, 6:46 PM

    James Mcneill Whistler loved an Indian girl?