“Goodbye, My Lover, Goodbye”

Author: T. H. Allen?
Earliest date: 1882
Keywords: river farewell work separation floatingverses
Found in: US(MW,SE,So)


A riverman, departing for New Orleans, bids his sweetheart farewell: "I'm going away to New Orleans, Goodbye, my lover, goodbye...." "She's on her way to New Orleans... She's bound to pass the Robert E. Lee...." "I'll make this trip and make no more...."


The description above is based on the most coherent version I could find. Brown's texts, however, have nothing of this plot; both have a verse "See the train go 'round the bend... Loaded down with (railroad/Chapel Hill) men," with the other stanzas floating. It appears that the simple tune was used for all sorts of floating verse songs.

This has been attributed to T. H. Allen (cf. Brown), but I don't know the reliability of the citation. - RBW

There is a parody version ["See the Steamer Go 'round the Bend"]: "See the steamer go 'round the bend, goodbye, my lover, goodbye/They're taking old Sammy away to the pen...And why are they taking old Sam to the pen?...He hit a policeman and hit him again/goodbye, my lover, goodbye." Sam Hinton credits this to his father, who liked to improvise. - PJS

Cross references



  1. BrownIII 274, "Goodbye, My Lover, Goodbye" (1 text plus a fragment)
  2. MHenry-Appalachians, p. 160, "Goodbye, My Lover, Goodbye" (1 text)
  3. Botkin-MRFolklr, p. 591, "Let Her Go By" (1 text)
  4. Silber-FSWB, p. 152, "Goodbye, My Lover, Goodbye" (1 text)
  5. Roud #15381
  6. BI, BMRF591