“Sweet Jane”


Willie bids his Jane farewell and sets off across the sea. Three years later, having gained success as a gold miner, he returns to his southern home and marries Jane


This is a relatively rare song, and is not at all specific in its details. Where does the singer go to seek gold? We have no clue. Since he apparently goes overseas, it can hardly be the San Francisco or Klondike gold rushes (yes, a prospector might well go to those places by sea -- but it is not *overseas*). That leaves perhaps South Africa or Australia.

The singer claims also to have "lived on bread and salty (meat/lard), and never lost my health." Such a diet, if followed for long, would assuredly result in scurvy -- and, if pursued for three years, would certainly result in death. Clearly he got more vegetable matter than he let on.

If there is more to be said about this song, it must be hidden in a version I have not seen. - RBW


  1. Laws B22, "Sweet Jane"
  2. BrownII 259, "Sweet Jane" (1 text plus mention of 1 more)
  3. Combs/Wilgus 51, pp. 177-178, "Sweet Jane" (1 text)
  4. DT 726, SWTJANE
  5. Roud #3243
  6. BI, LB22


Alternate titles: “Come Sweet Jane”; “Adieu, Sweet Lovely Jane”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1952 (Brown)
Found in: US(Ap,SE)