Darling Nelly Gray

(Written by B. R. Hanby in 1854, and sung by M. C. Dean.)

Curtis & Loretta Version:

Benjamin Hanby, author of the Christmas classic.

Benjamin Hanby. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a low green valley by the old Kentucky shore,
Where 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 darling Nelly Gray, they have taken you away,
And I’ll never see my darling any more.
I’m a-sitting by the river and I’m weeping all the day,
For you’ve gone from the old Kentucky shore.

When the moon had climbed 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 has 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.

Final Chorus:
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.

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