North Dixie

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Something for the weekend.  A Union version of Dixie sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford.  Here is the regular version also sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford:

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3 Responses to North Dixie

  • One derogative version that I have heard starts:

    Look away down South to the land of cotton;
    My feet stink, but yours are rotten.

  • In the Tennessee Ernie Ford version at 1:40, he sings swear upon your country’s “altar”. What does that mean?

  • The lyrics containing this are:

    Swear upon your country’s altar
    Never to submit or falter–
    To arms! To arms! To arms, in Dixie!
    Till the spoilers are defeated,
    Till the Lord’s work is completed!
    To arms! To arms! To arms, in Dixie!

    A common phrase at the time was “to offer myself on the altar of my country”, meaning a soldier would risk his life for his country. It has a quasi-religious connation sound, but that was not probably the intent of whoever penned the lyrics to the Confederate war song variant of Dixie. Additionally. literate people tended to read a good deal more classical history at that time than we do today, and it may be a reference to an act like Hamilcar Barca, who, after Carthage lost the First Punic War, had his son Hannibal, the great Carthaginian general of the Second Punic War, swear upon an altar ever lasting enmity to Rome. If this was the allusion, it was an unfortunate one for the Confederacy, since Carthage lost the Second Punic War.

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