“Nellie Was a Lady”


"Down on the Mississippi floating, Long time I travel on the way." The singer mourns his love: "Nellie was a lady," but "Last night while Nellie was a-sleeping, Death came a-knocking at the door." He will leave Virginia because he mourns so deeply


According to Sigmund Spaeth, _A History of Popular Music in America_, p. 106, this was "Foster's hit in 1849, now chiefly known as a barber-shop favorite." (And, indeed, nearly every reference I found to it online was to barbershop arrangements). - RBW


  1. Dean, p. 122, "Nellie Was a Lady" (1 text)
  2. Roud #4273
  3. BI, Dean122


Author: Stephen C. Foster
Earliest date: 1849 (copyright)
Keywords: death love home
Found in: US(MW)