Ring, Ring the Banjo

"Ring, Ring the Banjo" is a minstrel song from 1851 with words and music by Stephen Foster.

Date: 1851Composer: Stephen FosterText: Stephen Foster

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Ring, Ring the Banjo
by Stephen Foster
revised lyrics by Cinzi Lavin

The time is never dreary
If my spirit never groans;
This life is never weary
With the rattle in the bones;
Then come again my true love
By the gaslight of the moon;
We’ll strum the old Piano
When the banjo’s out of tune.

Ring, ring the banjo!
I like that good old song,
Come again my true love,
Oh! where you been so long.

Once I was so lucky,
My sweetheart set me free,
I went to old Kentucky
To see what I could see;
I could not go no farther,
I turn back to his door,
I love him all the harder,
I’ll go away no more.


My love, he had to leave me
While the river’s running high;
But he never did deceive me,
there’re no teardrops in my eye.
The beauty of creation
will never lose its charm
Someday I’ll roam the whole world
With my true love on my arm.


Oh! never count the bubbles
While there’s water in the spring;
And I can’t have no troubles
While I’ve got a song to sing.
My true love’s making money;
He’ll come another day.
I’ll wait for him, oh honey,
And dream my life away.



Ring, Ring the Banjo
Original Lyrics by Stephen Foster

De time is nebber dreary
If de darkey nebber groans;
De ladies nebber weary
Wid de rattle ob de bones;
Den ome again Susanna
By de gaslight ob de moon;
We’ll tum de old Piano
When de banjo’s out ob tune.

Ring, ring de banjo!
I like dat good old song,
Come again my true lub,
Oh! whar you been so long.

Oh! nebber count de bubbles
While der’s water in de spring;
De darkey hab no troubles
While he’s got dis song to sing.
De beauties ob creation
Will nebber lose der harm
While I roam de old plantation
Wid my true lub on my arm.

Once I was so lucky,
My massa set me free,
I went to old Kentucky
To see what I ould see;
I could not go no farder,
I turn to massa’s door,
I lub him all de harder,
I’ll go away no more.

Early in de morning
Ob a lubly summer day,
My massa send me warning
He’d like to hear me play.
On de banjo tapping,
I come wid dulem strain;
Massa fall a napping
He’ll nebber wake again.

My lub, I’ll hab to leabe you
While de ribber’s running high;
But I nebber can deceibe you
So dont you wipe your eye.
I’s guine to make some money;
But I’ll come anodder day
I’ll come again my honey,
If I hab to work my way.

Sheet Music

Stephen Foster Song Book (Dover Edition)

Composer(s): Stephen Foster

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