Darling Nelly Gray
Words & music: Benjamin Russel Hanby
(published by Oliver Ditson & Co., Boston, 1856)
There’s a low green valley on the old Kentucky shore,
There I’ve whiled many happy hours away,
A sitting and a singing by the little cottage door
Where lived my darling Nelly Gray.
Oh! my poor Nelly Gray, they have taken you away
And I’ll never see my darling any more,
I’m sitting by the river and I’m weeping all the day,
For you’ve gone from the old Kentucky shore.
When the moon had climb’d the mountain and the stars were shining too,
Then I’d take my darling Nelly Gray,
And we’d float down the river in my little red canoe,
While my banjo sweetly I would play.
One night I went to see her but “she’s gone!” the neighbors say,
The white man bound her with his chain,
They have taken her to Georgia to wear her life away,
As she toils in the cotton and the cane.
My canoe is under water and my banjo is unstrung,
I’m tired of living any more,
My eyes shall look downward and my songs shall be unsung
While I stay on the old Kentucky shore.
My eyes are getting blinded and I cannot see my way,
Hark! there’s somebody knocking at the door
Oh! I hear the angels calling and I see my Nelly Gray,
Farewell to the old Kentucky shore.
Oh! my darling Nelly Gray, up in heaven there they say,
That they’ll never take you from me any more,
I’m a-coming-coming-coming, as the angels clear the way,
Farewell to the old Kentucky shore.