Lyrics

RED RIVER VALLEY (painting lyrics)

From this valley they say you are going,
We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile.
For they say you are seeking the sunshine,
That will brightened your pathway for a while.

CHORUS: Come and sit by my side if you love me,
Do not hasten to bid me adieu.
But remember the Red River Valley,
And the cowboy who loved you so true.

Won't you think of the valley you're leaving,
Oh how lonely, how sad it will be?
Won't you think of the fond heart you're breaking,
And the grief you are causing to me.

I have waited a long time, my darling,
For the words that you never would say.
And at last all my fond hopes have vanished,
For they tell me you are going away.

IN THE BRIGHT MOHAWK VALLEY
Words and music by James J. Kerrigan; New York: Howley, Haviland & Co. Copyright 1896

Oh they say from this valley you're going,
We shall miss your sweet face and bright smile,
You will take with you all the sunshine
That has gladdened our hearts for awhile.

I have waited a long time my darling,
For those words that your lips ne'er would say,
Now the hope from my heart has departed,
And I'm told you're going away.

Chorus:For the sake of the past, do not leave me,
Do not hasten to bid me adieu!
Oh, remain in this bright Mohawk valley,
With the fond heart that lives but for you.

Do you think of the valley you're leaving?
Oh, how dreary 'twill be when you go,
Have you thought of the heart, so lonely,
That has loved you and cherished you so.

Tell me not that our lives must be severed,
Give me back, love, the smile once so dear,
Oh! this valley would lost (sic) all its brightness,
If its fairest of flow'rs were not here.
 

Here's a great old version by Powder River Jack Lee from his 1938 "Cowboy Songs:"

RED RIVER VALLEY Powder River Jack H. Lee

From the Valley they say you are going;
I will miss your sweet face and bright smile,
But at last you are seeking the sunshine
That will brighten your pathway awhile.

I've been thinking a long time, my darling,
Of the sweet words you never would say,
But at last all my fond hopes have vanished,
For they say you are going away.

Chorus: Come and sit by my side if you love me,
Do not hasten to bid me adieu,
But remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy who loved you so true.

Do you think of this valley you are leaving?
Oh how lonely and how dreary it will be!
Do you think of the fond heart you are breaking
And the pain you are causing to me?

I have promised you, darling, that never
Would a word from my lips cause you pain;
I have promised to be yours forever
If you will only love me again.

Chorus: Come and tarry awhile, do not leave me,
Do not hasten to bid me adieu,
But remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy who loved you so true.

Oh, there never should be such a longing,
Such an anguish and pain in the breast,
As dwells in the heart of a cowboy
Where I wait in my home in the West.

So bury me out on the prairie,
Where the roses and wildflowers grow;
Lay me to sleep by the hillside,
For I can't live without you, I know.

Chorus: Oh, consider awhile, do not leave me,
Do not hasten to bid me adieu,
But remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy who loved you so true.

"Cowboy Songs," 1938, Powder River Jack H. Lee, pp. 8-9, with sheet music, published by The McKee Printing Co., Butte, Montana.
It's important to note that Jack Lee (1872-1946) was a cowboy back in the 1890s and this version probably goes back to the late 1800s.

Here are the first published lyrics from Wehman's Collection, dated October 1889:

A LADY IN LOVE

Oh, they say from this valley you are going,
I shall miss your blue eye and bright smile;
And, alas! it will take all the sunshine
That has brightened my pathway for awhile.

Then consider well ere you leave us,
Do not hasten to bid us adieu,
But remember the dear little valley,
And the girl that has loved you so true.

Do you think of the home you are leaving,
How sad and how dreary 'twill be?
Do you think of the heart you are breaking,
Or the shadow it will cast over me?

I have waited a long time, my darling,
For the words that you never would say,
And at last all my fond hopes have vanished,
For they tell me you are going away.
 

On my request John Garst obtained copies of the two handwritten versions of Red River Valley from the Piper collection at the University of Iowa. One has, written under the lyrics, "Nemaha. 1879. Harlan 1885." He read this text is as follows:

RED RIVER VALLEY- 1879
 
From this valley they say you are going,
I shall miss your bright eyes and your(?) smile;
But alas, you take with you the sunshine
That has brightened my pathway awhile.
  
Then consider awhile ere you leave me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
But remember the Red River Valley
And the heart that has loved you so true.
  
Do you think of he valley you're leaving,
How lonesome and dreary 'twill be?
Do you think of the heart you have broken
And the sorrow that o'ershadows me?
 
It is a long time I've been waiting
For the words that you never would say,
But alas, all my hopes they have vanished
For they say you are going away.
 
When you go to your home by the ocean,
O do not forget the sweet hours,
That we spent in the Red River Valley,
And be true to your promise to me.
 
The fair maiden prays for her lover
To the spirit that rules o'er the world
May his pathway be covered with sunshine
Is the prayer of the Red River girl.
  
John Garst thinks this to be a good and typical example of the form of the song that is associated with the Red River Valley of the North (Canada) and a romance between and east-coast Canadian soldier and a Metis maiden of Manitoba. He thinks it is probably the original setting of the song.

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