Once I could laugh and play,
When in life's early day,
Then I was far away—
Down among the cane-brakes.

Yes I was free from care;
All was bright summer there;
Dark days to me were fair—
Down among the cane-brakes.

Down among the cane-brakes on the Mississippi shore
Oh! those happy days, those happy days are o'er!
Oh! those happy days will comeback no more!
Down among the cane-brakes on the Mississippi shore
Oh! those happy days, those happy days are o'er!
Oh! those happy days will come back no more!

There lived my mother dear
(Gone from this world I fear)
There rang our voices clear
Down among the cane-brakes.

There lived a lovely one,
Who like the rest has gone,—
She might have been my own
Down among the cane-brakes.

Long years have glided by
Since then I breathed each sigh,—
May I return to die
Down among the cane-brakes.

More verses by Stephen Collins Foster

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