Old Home Day

(1894)

"Old Home Day" is the first song in Ives' Five Street Songs song set.

Photo Credit: Residence in Oyster Bay, Long Island, picket fence and Walt Whitman cottage, Master prints. Alexander M. White, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Digital ID: gsc 5a00769

Old Home Day

Old Home Day
by Charles Ives


Go my songs! Draw Daphnis from the city.


A minor tune from Todd's opera house,
comes to me as I cross the square, there,
We boys used to shout the songs that rouse
the hearts of the brave and fair.
As we march along down Main street, behind the village band,
The dear old trees, with their arch of leaves
seem to grasp us by the hand.
While we step along to the tune of an Irish song,
Glad but wistful sounds the old church bell,
for underneath's a note of sadness,
"Old home town" farewell.


A corner lot, a white picket fence,
daisies almost everywhere, there,
We boys used to play "One old cat,"
and base hits filled the summer air.
As we march along on Main street,
of that "Down East" Yankee town,
Comes a sign of life,
from the "3rd Corps" fife,
- strains of an old breakdown;
While we step along to the tune of [it's]* Irish song,
Comes another sound we all know well.
It takes us way back forty years,
that little red schoolhouse bell.


As we march along down Main street, behind the village band,
The dear old trees, with their arch of leaves
seem to grasp us by the hand.
While we step along to the tune of an Irish song,
Glad but wistful sounds the old church bell,
for underneath's a note of sadness,
"Old home town" farewell.


Audio PLaylist