Over the River and Through the Wood

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Over the River and Through the Wood

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.


House of Child's grandfather in Medford, Massachusetts, 2005

"Over the River and Through the Wood" is a Thanksgiving poem by Lydia Maria Child. It appeared in the second volume of her Flowers for Children in 1844. The original title of the poem is, "The New-England Boy's Song About Thanksgiving Day".[1]

Boston College writes: "Starting with the familiar line, "Over the river and through the wood", this poem is easily Child’s most famous work. Child never revised the poem herself, but the verses changed over time, especially when they were set to music.With its bouncing rhythms and high spirits, the poem draws on the writer’s childhood memories of visiting her grandfather’s house on Thanksgiving. Having gained notoriety for her ideas about race, Child kept her antislavery ideals out of this volume in an effort to avoid controversy and boost sales. Flowers for Children contains only two stories involving race, and they both avoid addressing racial prejudice head on. In this nostalgic poem, Child takes us back to the simple pleasures of a family holiday."[1]

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