Title Thumbnail

The Dance of Dinwiddie

Marshall Moreton

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
A HOUSE and a barn on an acre of ground—And there wasn’t another of either around Save the houses afloat that went flying apast, For the waters had closed all around them at last. There the dancers had come on the ev’ning before In their high-seated wagon—a full score or more, With fiddlers and one they called “Oracle,” who Was a modern Sebastian Cerezo, and knew (About dancing and things) more than any one ’round In the house or the barn on the acre of ground. ’Twas at the great bend near the town of Dinwiddie On the banks of the river Ohio, and giddy, The gay, dizzy dance, like a far-away echo, Seems laughing to me of a time long ago, In the merry round waltz and the songs for the reels, In the “Oracle’s” rhymes that were slicker than eels, And the snug little town whence the dancers had come On the evening before to the old country home, Is as fresh to my mind as the tall trees around The frame house and the barn on the acre of ground. There the tall trees are standing, still standing alone Like sentinels now, and are now taller grown, Where once was the homestead. How often I’m told By the boatmen who traveled the river of old, That they never can pass round the great sweeping bend But the dance is recalled, and they think of the end That so suddenly came to the cherished old place; They note the tall trees as its last lingering trace—Their long branches waving as if in a trance From a waltz they had caught on the night of the dance. There often the town folks, still curious, stray To look o’er the place on a summery day, Recounting the story when nearing the sight, And some one will tell of the dance of that night, Of the dancers who came there that evening before—Not thinking the river could rise any more—Will sing the reel songs and will point to the place Where once stood the house on that now crumbling base When caught in the flood on that night without warning To the dancers within till the dawn of the morning.