Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies

Key of D. Traditional Appalachian song also called "Come all ye Fair and Tender Maidens" or "Little Sparrow." Most recorded versions are painfully slow but some are beautiful.

  • Maybelle Carter, autoharp [utoob]
  • Carter Family on TV [utoob]
  • Dave van Ronk solo banjo [utoob]
  • Slow duet with guitar & banjo [utoob] (Rebecca's favorite)
  • Slow duet with tight harmonies, guitar [utoob]
  • Solo, slide guitar [utoob], man has a powerful voice.
  • Pete Seeger [amazon]
  • We have a CD with a nice version by Dave Bromberg [amazon].
  • Tired Hands String Band do the Bromberg version [utoob]
  • Dolly Parton recorded "Little Sparrow," almost the same tune.

Lyrics

Come all ye fair and tender ladies.Be careful how you court young men.They're like the stars on a summer's morning.First they'll appear and then they're gone.They'll tell to you some loving storyThey'll tell to you such a terrible lieThen they'll go away and court anotherLeave you alone to pine and sigh.Do you remember our days of courtingWhen your head lay upon my breastYou could make me believe with falling of your armThat the sun rose in the WestI wish I was a little sparrowAnd I had wings and I could flyI'd fly away to my false true lover,And when she'd ask, I would deny.But Iam not no little sparrow,I got no wings and I can't flyI'll go away to some lonesome valleyJust sit and pass my troubles by.If I had known before I courtedthat loving was such a terrible crimeI'd have locked my heart in a box of goldenand tied it up with a silver twine.

Alternate Lyrics

They'll tell you some loving storyThey'll declare to you their love is trueThen they will go away and court some otherAnd that's the love they have for youThey'll tell to you some loving storyAnd they make you think that they love you wellAnd away they'll go and court some otherAnd leave you there in grief to dwellI wish I was a little sparrowAnd I had wings with which to flyRight over to see my false true-lover,And when he's talking I'd be nigh.But I'm not a little sparrow,I have no wings with which to flySo I sit here in grief and sorrow,To weep and pass my troubles by.I wish I was on some tall mountainWhere the Ivy rock is black as inkI'd write a letter to my false true loverWhose cheeks are like the morning pinkIf I had known before I courtedthat love was such a killing thingI'd have locked my heart in a box of goldenand fastened it up with a silver pin.Oh, love is handsome, love is charmingAnd love is pretty while it's newBut love grows cold as love grows olderAnd fades away like morning dewMy daddy was a handsome gamblerHe had a chain five miles longOn every link a heart gets dangledOf another maid he loved and wronged