Hiawatha (A Summer Idyl)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Sheet music cover, 1902[1]
Written 1901, 1903 (lyrics)
Composer(s) Neil Moret a.k.a. Charles N. Daniels
Lyricist(s) James J. O'Dea
Cover of vocal version (1903).

"Hiawatha (A Summer Idyl)" is a popular song written by Neil Moret (Charles N. Daniels) in 1901. James J. O'Dea (1870–1914) added lyrics in 1903 and the music was re-subtitled "(His Song to Minnehaha)".

"Hiawatha" was extremely popular when released, and sold half a million copies.[2][3] It has been recorded numerous times and started a decade long fad for "Indian" songs.[4]

"Hiawatha" was named for Hiawatha, Kansas, not for Longfellow's poem.[5]


The lyrics as written by O'Dea:[6]

Oh the moon is all agleam on the stream
Where i dream here of you my pretty Indian maid.
While the rustling leaves are singing high above us overhead
In the glory of the bright summer night
In light of the shadows of the forest glade
I am waiting here to kiss your lips so red.
There's a flood of melodies on the breeze
From the trees and of you they breathe so tenderly
While the wodlands all around are resounding your name,
Oh my all in life is you only you
Fond and true and your own forevermore I'll be.
Hear them the song I sing with lips aflame.

I am your own your Hiawatha brave – my heart is yours you know
Dear one I love you so
Oh Minnehaha gentle maid decide – decide and you'll be,
My Indian bride.

In the tresses of your hair, lies a snare and its there
Where my heart a willing captive is.
Oh my woodland queen I pray you'll hold it ever in your care
In my little birch canoe love with you
Just we two down the stream of life in wedded bliss
I would drift sweetheart with you my lot to share.
When the birds upon the wing in the spring
Gaily sing of the green and golden summer time
When the snows of early winter robe the wodlands in white,
Then your Hiawatha free I will be
And to thee ev'ry though of mine will o'er incline.
Heed then the vows I pledge to thee this night.


  1. ^ Moret, "Hiawatha (A Summer Idyl)"
  2. ^ Jasen, Tin Pan Alley, p. 102: "In 1901, Daniels published his Indian song, 'Hiawatha,' which became a success after Daniels prevailed upon Sousa to perform and record it (Victor 2443). The following year, when Jerome Remick purchased Whitney Warner of Detroit, he paid Daniels $10,000 for his firm so that Remick could have 'Hiawatha.' It was the highest sum yet paid for a song."
  3. ^ Sanjek, American Popular Music and Its Business, p. 414. "500,000".
  4. ^ Jasen, Tin Pan Alley, p. 102: "The following year, James J. O'Dea (1870–1914) added words to 'Hiawatha,' and sales zoomed again when it became a song. Thus started the trend of Indian songs, which were extremely popular during the first decade of the twentieth century."
  5. ^ Parlor Songs 1800-1920. "The song was originally written around 1900 by Moret as an instrumental work as a tribute to a town in Kansas (Hiawatha, Kansas) where his sweetheart lived."
  6. ^ O'Dea, "Hiawatha (His Song to Minnehaha)".


  • Jasen, David A. Tin Pan Alley: An Encyclopedia of the Golden Age of American Song. New York: Routledge (2003).
  • Moret, Neil (m.). "Hiawatha (A Summer Idyl)" (Sheet music). Detroit: Whitney-Warner Pub. Co. (1902).
  • O'Dea, James J. (w.) (1870–1914); Moret, Neil (m.). "Hiawatha (His Song to Minnehaha)" (Sheet music). Detroit: Whitney-Warner Pub. Co. (1903).
  • Sanjek, Russell. American Popular Music and Its Business: The First four Hundred Years, Vol. II. New York: Oxford University Press (1988).
  • Parlor Songs 1800-1920 (Aug 2000). ">Parlor Songs Association.

External links[edit]