Sung by: Mrs. Sherman Rutherford
Recorded in Batesville, AR 9/1/58

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My parents treated me kindly;
Their only child was me.
My mind was placed on rambling;
With them I couldn't agree.

Of rambling and roving
It grieved their poor hearts so,
That when I took to rambling,
Their faces I saw no more.

There was a wealthy old farmer
Who lived in the country close by.
He had but only one daughter.
To win her I did try.

I asked if it made any difference
If I should cross over the plain,
If she'd continue to be true to me,
'Til I returned again.

She said that it made no difference;
She'd never prove unkind.
We kissed, shook hands, and I parted
From the girl I left behind.

I left old Illinois
For Missouri bound,
Stopped off at the city of Cairo
To view the lovely town.

There work and money being plentiful,
The girls all treated me kind,
But the girl I left behind me
Was always on my mind.

I got up early one morning,
Walked out on the public square.
The mail trains were arriving,
And the newsboy, he was there.

He handed me a letter
Which gave me to understand
That the girl I left behind me
Had married another man.

My work I'll give over,
My company resign,
And I'll go ramble from town to town
For the girl I left behind.

Come, all you young gents,
Take warning from my song.
If it don't do you no good, boys,
I'm sure it'll do you no wrong.

When you're courting a pretty fair miss,
Oh, marry her while you can,
For if you ever cross over the plain,
She'll marry another man.

Also found in Randolph, Vol. I, #64, "The Girl I Left Behind"; Brown, Vol. II, #145, "The Girl I Left Behind Me"; Belden, p. 198, "The False-Hearted Lover."

All Songs Recorded by John Quincy Wolf, Jr., unless otherwise noted

The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection
Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas
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