Quite a while back I showed you a poem from 1907 by Edwin L. Sabin called The Barefoot Trail. There’s also a song with the same name (different words, completely different tune) from 1920, sung by the famous Irish Tenor, John McCormack.
As so many of these “barefoot” poems do, this one isn’t so much about bare feet but about the nostalgia of bare feet and youth. But of course, that’s also about a time when kids really did go barefoot, unlike the way it is today for so much of the western world.
The song was written by Marian Phelps, with its music by Alvin S. Wiggers. And as I said, it was sung by the Irish Tenor John McCormack.
Here are the lyrics:
The Barefoot Trail
There’s a winding trail thro’ the meadow grass,
And over a sunny hill,
To the wild-wood ways where a lad and lass
Once roamed at their own sweet will.
A brown little lad with a freckled nose,
And a wee bonnie lass like a sweet wild rose.
Over the hill-top and thro’ the dale,
Threading the winding barefoot trail.
Oh, the barefoot trail goes winding
Thro’ the years of memory.
The past and the present binding,
In a wonderful dream for me.
And I seem to be back in my child-hood days,
A lad with a freckled nose
Who is treading the barefoot wild-wood ways
With a lassie who’s like a rose.
‘Tis a long, long way thro’ the years, I know,
Back there to the barefoot days.
For your golden tresses have turn’d to snow,
And dim is an old man’s gaze.
But, still, still you are like a sweet wild rose,
And a laddie am I with a freckled nose,
When o’er the hill-top and thro’ the dale
Memory takes the barefoot trail.
Not only did many kids go barefoot back then, but back in Ireland, they really went barefoot, so as an Irish song, it really is harkening back to real memories.
You can see the sheet music here.