“Farewell He”


The singer bids "Fare thee well, cold winter, and fare thee well cold frost. Nothing have I gained, but a lover I have lost...." After seeing him with another girl, she swears off of him, "He's no lad for windy weather; let him go then; farewell he"


Cohen seems to think that the Ozark versions of this piece, known from Belden and Randolph, are a separate song, and it is possible that he's right and that it simply swallowed elements of "Farewell He." But since the swallowing was nearly complete, it seems better to lump them. In this, unusually, I agree with Roud.

The situation is similar with Gardner and Chickering: Their "My Love Is on the Ocean" has distinct first and last stanzas:

My love is on the ocean, O let him sink or swim,

For in how own mind he thinks he's better than I am.

He think that he can slide me as he slided two or three,

But I'll give him back the mitten since he's gone back on me.

Final verse:

Go tell it to his mother; I set her heart at ease.

I hear she is a lady that's very hard to please.

I hear that she speaks of me that's hardly ever done.

Go tell it to her, I do not want her son!

It will be evident, however, that this text fits the tune of "Farewell He," and the material in between, including the chorus, is "Farewell He." Indeed, of Gardner and Chickering's texts, the one they call "Farewell He" actually looks less like the song of that title, except that it uses that key phrase!

So, once again, I lump (this time disagreeing with Roud).

The whole family cold probably use a thorough study, including both these songs, the Ozark versions, and "Dark and Dreary Weather." - RBW

Cross references


  1. Belden, pp. 491-492, "Adieu to Cold Weather" (1 text plus mention of 2 more)
  2. FSCatskills 41, "My Love Is Like a Dewdrop" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Randolph 751, "Adieu to Dark Weather" (6 texts plus an excerpt, 5 tunes, all more or less related to this piece, though some are rather mixed; some of the texts reverse the male and female roles and some have a chorus)
  4. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 491-493, "Adieu to Dark Weather" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 751A)
  5. Gardner/Chickering 42, "Farewell He" (1 text); 43, "My Love Is on the Ocean" (1 text)
  6. Combs/Wilgus 179, pp. 146-147, "To Cheer the Heart" (1 text)
  7. SHenry H504, p. 347, "Farewell He" (1 text, 1 tune); compare also H241, p. 346, "The Blackbird and Thrush" (1 text, 1 tune)
  8. DT, FAREWELH* (RONDHAT5* -- a mixed version also incorporating "All Around My Hat")
  9. Roud #803; also 3729
  10. BI, FSC41


Alternate titles: “Fare Thee Well Cold Winter”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1906 (Belden)
Found in: US(Ap,MA,So) Ireland