I don’t get it.
“Look off into the distance – Dixie’s out there somewhere!”
Look off into the distance and maybe you’ll see your homeland of Dixie.
OK–I guess I keep hearing it in the context of “look away” as in “that’s a car wreck you’d be better off not seeing.”
I just saw the word “Dixie” and needed to come here. I love my little Dixie Dog. But Jesus, does she smell BAD!
Maybe if you look away, when your face is pointed away from her, you won’t notice the stank so much.
And try not to smell down south of her, either.
“Away” is just an antiquated version of “way” as demonstrated in the earlier line, Away, away, away down south in Dixie
The song is about missing their homeland, I always took it as meaning “look away from where you are, towards Dixie.” Probably more figuratively than literally.
“Way down South, in the land of cotton
Your feet stink and mine are rotten.”
–Version sung by me and my grade-school classmates in Virginia, circa 1958.
I’d long wondered the same thing, though I did guess it was an archaic/poetic usage, just as “passing fair” does not mean 5 or 6 on a scale of ten.
People still use “away” to mean “in the distance” in certain phrases. E.g. “far away”, “a long way away”.
I have seen it argued - but I can’t find a worthwhile cite just now - that
Look away = Look back = Fondly remember
As I understand it it’s a minstrel song, sung from the standpoint of a freed slave yearning for the good old times of slavery, and wishing he were enslaved still - so the interpretation makes sense. Post 5 in this noticeboard thread is along these lines - but this is just a random poster of course; it just serves to show that the argument is out there.