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Banks of the Little Eau Pleine

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Banks of the Little Eau Pleine

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Banks of the Little Eau Pleine
(William N. Allen)

One evening in June as I rambled,
The green woods and valleys among,
The mosquitos' notes were melodious
And so was the whippoorwill's song.
     The frogs in the marshes were croaking
     The tree toads were whistling for rain,
     And partridges 'round me were drumming,
     On the banks of the Little Au Pleine.
The sun in the west was declining,
And tinging the treetops with red.
My wandering feet bore me onward.
Not caring whither they led.
     I happened to see a young schoolma'am
     She mourned in a sorrowful strain
     She mourned for a jolly young raftsman
     On the banks of the Little Au Pleine.

Saying, "Alas, my dear Johnny has left me
I'm afraid I shall see him no more
He's down on the lower Wisconsin;
He's pulling a fifty-foot oar,
     He went off on a fleet with Ross Gamble
     And has left me in sorrow and pain
     And 'tis over two months sionce he started
     From the banks of the Little Au Pleine.

"If John Murphy's the name of your raftsman
I used to know him very well.
But sad is the tale I must tell you:
Your Johnny was drowned in The Dells.
     They buried him 'neath a scrub Norway,
     You will never behold him again,
     No stone marks the spot where your raftsman
     Sleeps far from the Little Au Pleine.

"My curses attend you, Wisconsin,
May your rapids and falls cease to roar
May every towhead and sandbar
Be as dry as a log schoolhouse floor,
     May the willows on all of your islands
     Lie down like a field of ripe grain,
     For taking my jolly young raftsman
     From the banks of the Little Au Pleine.

DT #699
Laws C2
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