The Girl I Left Behind Me I'm lonesome since I cross'd the hills, And o'er the moor that's sedgy; With heavy thoughts my mind is fill'd, Since I parted with my Naggy [early pencilled correction When e'er I return to view the place, gives 'Peggy'] The tears doth fall and blind me, When I think on the charming grace Of the girl I left behind me. The hours I remember well, When next to see doth move me, ['see' can't be correct] The burning flames my heart doth tell, Since first she own'd she lov'd me: In search of some one fair and gay, [rhyme lost Several doth remind me; I know my darling loves me well, Tho' I left her behind me. The beas shall lavish, mare no store [bees, languish, bear ? And the dove become a ranger; The falling water cease to roar, Before I'll ever change her: Each mortal promise faithful made, [rhyme lost By her whose tears doth blind me; And bless the hours I pass away, With the girl I left behind me. My mind her image still retains, Whether asleep or waking; I hope to see my dear again, For her my heart is breaking: But if e'er I chance to go that way, And that she has not resign'd me; I'll reconcile my mind and stay, With the girl I left behind me. Text from The <<Charms of Melody>>, n.d., Dublin, issue NO.72. The one hundred four page issues of this work came out approximately every 1.8 months, c 1795-1810. The text is from NO.72, being approximately of 1805-6, and this appears to be the oldest text yet found. However, in a songbook, <<The New Whim of the Night, or the Town and Country Songster for 1799>>, is a song "The Girls we love so dearly" 'Written by R. Rusted Tune - The Girl I left behind me.' Rusted's song commences "Come, messmates, fill the flowing can". This is the only reference to the song or tune in the 18th century that I've found. The first and third verses here are in <<Ozark Folksongs>>, III, 'C' text, p. 354, from a manuscript and without tune. Wm. Chappell in <<Popular Music of the Olden Time>> had much to say about "The girl I left behind me" being connected with "Brighton Camp" and being an 18th century song, none of which has been subsequently verified, and if one studies Chappell carefully one sees he gives no solid information that would prove an 18th century date for text or tune. James J. Fuld, <<The Book of World Famous Music>>, tracked Behind Me" in Bell's <<Rhymes of the Northern Bards>>, 1812. Fuld points out that "Brighton Camp Quick March", 1792, is not the same tune. The tune appears as "Brighton Camp or the Girl I Left Behind Me" in Riley's Flute Melodies , I, NO.349, New York, n.d. , but much yet remains unexplained regarding the history of this song and tune, and its connection to "Brighton Camp". Play: GRLBHND, from Riley's Flute Melodies WBO APR99
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!