A Thanksgiving Poem

Thanksgiving Poem, which later became the song Over the River and Through the Woods, plus how the writer of the poem was a real-life heroine

When November comes, life becomes a whirlwind of activity. In the middle of it all, we start thinking about what we have to be thankful for. I’m thankful we have role models like Lydia Maria Child (1802 – 1880), who wrote the Thanksgiving Poem, best known as the song Over the River and Through the Woods.

Child was a well known author during the time leading up to the Civil War. She wrote a periodical for kids and popular books for housewives with tips to help manage their households. In 1835 she wrote The History of the Condition of Women in Various Ages and Nations that was later an inspiration to women suffragists.

In 1833 she published An Appeal in Favor of that Class of Americans Called Africans, which called for the immediate emancipation of all slaves. This hurt her career. However, she continued to write in favor of emancipation, in favor of the rights of Native Americans, and in favor of equal rights for women.

Lydia Maria Child truly was someone who stood by what she believed was right, regardless of the consequences to herself. She’s a wonderful role model for children today.

Here’s a short version of the song, followed by the full poem…

Over the River and Through the Woods

Over the river and through the woods
To grandmother’s house we go!
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh,
Through bright and drifting snow, oh!
Over the river and through the woods
Oh, how the wind doth blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
As over the hills we go.

The New England Boy’s Thanksgiving Poem
(Over the River and Through the Woods)

by Lydia Maria Child

Over the river, and through the wood,
To grandfather’s house we go!
The horse knows the way,
To carry the sleigh,
Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes,
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood,
With a clear blue winter sky,
The dogs do bark,
And children hark,
As we go jingling by.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring, “Ting-a-ling-ling!”
Hurray for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood,
No matter for winds that blow,
Or if we get
The sleigh upset,
Into a bank of snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To see little John and Ann.
We will kiss them all,
And play snow-ball,
And stay as long as we can.

Over the river, and through the wood,
Trot fast, my dapple grey!
Spring over the ground,
Like a hunting hound!
For this is Thanksgiving day!

Over the river, and through the wood,
And straight through the barn-yard gate,
We seem to go
Extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river, and through the wood,
Old Jowler hears our bells,
He shakes his pow,
With a loud bow-wow,
And thus the news he tells.

Over the river, and through the wood,
When Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, “Oh, dear,
The children are here,
bring a pie for every one.”

Over the river, and through the wood,
Now grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

Happy Thanksgiving!

-Lisa

Here’s Mama Lisa’s Thanksgiving Page with more Thanksgiving Songs, Poems, Nursery Rhymes and Recipes.

This article was posted on Thursday, November 3rd, 2005 at 10:16 pm and is filed under American Folk Songs, American Kids Songs, Folk Songs, Holiday Songs, Holidays Around the World, Lydia Maria Child, Over the River and Through the Woods, Poetry, Songs by Theme, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Poems, Thanksgiving Songs, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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