A Life in the West

"A Life in the West" was written and composed in 1844; it is subtitled "The Emigrant's Song."

Date: 1844Composer: Henry RussellText: George Pope Morris

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A Life in the West
by George Pope Morris

Oh! brothers, come hither, and list to my story,
Merry and brief will the narrative be,
Here, like a monarch, I reign in my glory,
Master am I, boys, of all that I see:
Where once frown’d a forest a garden is smiling,
The meadows and moorlands are marshes no more;
And there curls the smoke of my cottage, beguiling
The children who cluster like grapes at the door.

Then enter, boys–cheerly, boys, enter and rest;
The land of the heart is the land of the west!
O-ho! boys! O-ho! boys! O-ho! boys! O-ho!

Talk not of the town, boys, give me the broad prairie,
Where man, like the wind, rolls impulsive and free;
Behold how its beautiful colours all vary,
Like those of the clouds, or the deep-rolling sea.
A life in the woods, boys, is even as changing,
With proud independence we season our cheer;
And those who the world are for happiness ranging,
Won’t find it at all if they don’t find it here.


Here, brothers, secure from all turmoil and danger,
We reap what we sow, for the soil is our own;
We spread hospitality’s board for the stranger,
And care not a fig for the king on his throne.
We never know want, for we live by our labour,
And in it contentment and happiness find;
We do what we can for a friend or a neighbour,
And die, boys, in peace and good-will to mankind.


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Sheet Music

A Life in the West

Composer(s): Henry Russell

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