“Beware, Oh Take Care”

Alternate titles: “Bold and Free”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1892 (Trifet's Budget of Music)
Keywords: courting cards drink abandonment rake
Found in: US(So)


The young girls are warned about sporting men, who look handsome and speak well -- but have a deck of cards and a bottle hidden. "Beware, young ladies, they're fooling you; Trust them not, they're fooling you; Beware, young ladies... Beware, oh take care"


Credited in the Digital Tradition to Blind Alfred Blake (which Paul Stamler points out should be "Blind Alfred Reed"), but -- since the piece has been in circulation since at least the 1880s -- it would appear that Reed, at most, retouched it into the "popular" form.

Laura Ingalls Wilder quotes a scrap of the song in _By the Shores of Silver Lake_ (chapter 6). If legitimate, that would push the date back even farther -- to 1879. - RBW

Cross references



  1. Randolph 381, "Beware, Oh Beware" (2 texts plus a quotation from Trifet, 2 tunes)
  2. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 311-313, "Beware, Oh Beware" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 381B)
  3. Cohen/Seeger/Wood, pp. 70-71, "Beware, Oh Take Care" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Silber-FSWB, p. 167, "Beware, Oh, Take Care" (1 text)
  6. Roud #7619
  7. BI, R381