“Rosie Nell”


"How oft I dream of childhood days, Of tricks we used to play.... I'd rather be with Rosie Nell, a-swinging in the lane." But then "Aunt Jemima Brown" introduces Rosie to another fellow. The singer warns men against getting too involved with women

Supplemental text

Rosie Nell
  Partial text(s)

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Rosy Nell

From Harvey H. Fuson, Ballads of the Kentucky Highlands, p. 99.
"From singing of Sallie Lyttle Hatton."

How oft we've talked of childhood's joys,
Of tricks we used to play
Upon each other while at school
To pass the time away.
The boys and girls would often go
A-fishing in the brook,
With spools of thread for fishing lines,
And bended pins for hooks.

But O, how often have I longed
For those bright days again,
When little Rosy Nell and I
Went swingin in the lane.

(2 additional stanzas)


  • Walter "Kid" Smith & Norman Woodlief with Posey Rorer, "I'd Rather Be with Rosy Nell" (Gennett 6858/Challenge 431, 1929)
  • The Virginia Dandies [alternate name for Walter "Kid" Smith & The Carolina Buddies], "Rosy Nell" (Crown, unissued, 1931)


  1. Fuson, p. 99, "Rosy Nell" (1 text)
  2. Sandburg, pp. 114-116, "Rosie Nell" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Randolph 871, "Swinging in the Lane" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. cf. Gardner/Chickering, p. 482, "Rosie Nell" (source notes only)
  5. ST San114 (Partial)
  6. Roud #2870
  7. BI, San114


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1868 (The Champaign Charlie and Coal Oil Tommy Songster)
Found in: US(Ap,So)