Sailing to Philadephia

Sailing To Philadelphia – Mark Knopfler

ships-

I am Jeremiah Dixon
I am a Geordie Boy
A glass of wine with you, sir
And the ladies I’ll enjoy

All Durham and Northumberland
Is measured up by my own hand
It was my fate from birth
To make my mark upon the earth…

He calls me Charlie Mason
A stargazer am I
It seems that I was born
To chart the evening sky

They’d cut me out for baking bread
But I had other dreams instead
This baker’s boy from the west country
Would join the Royal Society…

We are sailing to Philadelphia
A world away from the coaly Tyne
Sailing to Philadelphia
To draw the line
The Mason-Dixon line

Now you’re a good surveyor, Dixon
But I swear you’ll make me mad
The West will kill us both
You gullible Geordie lad

You talk of liberty
How can America be free
A Geordie and a baker’s boy
In the forest of the Iroquois…

Now hold your head up, Mason
See America lies there
The morning tide has raised
The capes of Delaware

Come up and feel the sun
A new morning is begun
Another day will make it clear
Why your stars should guide us here…

We are sailing to Philadelphia
A world away from the coaly Tyne
Sailing to Philadelphia
To draw the line
The Mason-Dixon line

This is a story song, told in two monologues between Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon ( Mark Knopfler and James Taylor) as they travel from Great Britain to Pennsylvania. They have been commissioned a survey work to establish the border separating Pennsylvania and Delaware from Maryland and Virginia in the 1760s.
The song is simply a character study of these two surveyors heading for America “to draw the line, the Mason Dixon Line”, in a journey full of trepidation but also optimism.

Jeremiah Dixon was an English surveyor and astronomer. Also Charles Mason was an astronomer, even though his parents wanted him to become a baker. They were commissioned by the heirs of William Penn to define the long-disputed boundaries of the overlapping lands of the Penns, proprietors of Pennsylvania, and the Calverts, proprietors of Maryland. Between 1763 and 1767 the 233-mile (375-km) line was surveyed along the parallel 39°43′ N, and milestones were set: every fifth milestone bore the Penn arms and Calvert arms on appropriate sides.
This border later became known as the Mason–Dixon line and has been used since the 1820s to denote the border between the Southern United States and the Northern United States.

 

(da: La storia del rock)

 

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