Oh! Dat Low Bridge!

Edward Harrigan, Dave Braham

This song was written in 1885 and used in Edward Harrigan’s vaudeville comedy “The Grip”. This song is all about life on the Erie Canal. It mentions the weighlocks along the canal, what daily life on the boat was like, and mentions the low bridges like Thomas Allen’s song. This song shows that the Erie Canal not only made an economic impact, but a cultural one as well.


It’s many miles to Buffalo (Oh that low bridge!)
Balky mule he travels slow (Oh that low bridge!)
There’s gravel on the towpath, there’s hornets in the sand,
Oh pity poor canallers that’s so far away from land.


Look Out! That Low Bridge, Look Out! That low bridge!
The captain, cook and all the crew,
oh duck your heads way down
The fastest boat in all the fleet,
“Two Sisters,” come to town.

There’s many locks to shut you in (Oh that low bridge!)
Every worm must learn to swim (Oh that low bridge!)
We’re loaded down with barley, and timber from the west,
Now every poor canaller, now do your level best.


We’re froze up in the winter time (Oh that low bridge!)
Summer, how the sun do shine (Oh that low bridge!)
In rain or stormy weather, the captain’s on the poop
All huddled up together, like chickens in a coop.


There’s groceries in the cabin thar (Oh that low bridge!)
Never leaks, she’s full of tar (Oh that low bridge!)
There’s freckles on the children, there’s glanders on the mule
Mosquitoes by the million that keep that golden rule.