Riding to Town

"Riding to Town" is a song by Thomas H. Kerr, Jr. setting the poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar. It is included in the Anthology of Art Songs by Black American Composers.

Date: 1943Composer: Thomas H. KerrText: Paul Laurence Dunbar

Print vitals & song text

Text

Riding to Town
by Paul Laurence Dunbar

When labor is light and the morning is fair,
I find it a pleasure beyond all compare
To hitch up my nag and go hurrying down
And take Katie May for a ride into town;
For bumpety-bump goes the wagon,
But tra-la-la-la our lay.
There’s joy in a song as we rattle along
In the light of the glorious day.

A coach would be fine, but a spring wagon’s good;
My jeans are a match for Kate’s gingham and hood;
The hills take us up and the vales take us down,
But what matters that? we are riding to town,
And bumpety-bump goes the wagon,
But tra-la-la-la sing we.
There’s never a care may live in the air
That is filled with the breath of our glee.

And after we’ve started, there’s naught can repress
The thrill of our hearts in their wild happiness;
The heavens may smile or the heavens may frown,
And it’s all one to us when we’re riding to town.
For bumpety-bump goes the wagon,
But tra-la-la-la we shout,
For our hearts they are clear and there’s nothing to fear,
And we’ve never a pain nor a doubt.

The wagon is weak and the roadway is rough,
And tho’ it is long it is not long enough,
For mid all my ecstasies this is the crown
To sit beside Katie and ride into town,
When bumpety-bump goes the wagon,
But tra-la-la-la our song;
And if I had my way, I’d be willing to pay
If the road could be made twice as long.

Support us and help us grow

Dear friends, Thank you for helping us build a comprehensive online archive of American song. Your gift is greatly appreciated.