“The Broken Engagement (I -- She Was Standing By Her Window)”

Alternate titles: “The Broken Heart”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1926 (recording, Kelly Harrell)
Keywords: love betrayal death
Found in: US(Ap,SE,So)


The girl asks her fiancee if he truly loves another rather than her. He says he does. She releases him from his promise, and says they will be strangers henceforth. She dies; (he realizes as he stands by her coffin that she was his true love)


Belden and Randolph both have songs from the Ozarks called "The Broken Engagement," and they share some lyrics. But the plots are so distinct that I have to list them as separate songs.

Kelly Harrell's song "The Broken Engagement" is again quite different, but it clearly goes with Randolph's text (which it predates and might even have inspired) rather than Belden's. - RBW

Cross references



  1. Randolph 771, "The Broken Engagement" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 496-498, "The Broken Engagement" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 771)
  3. MHenry-Appalachians, pp. 147-148, "The Broken Engagement"; pp. 149-150, "He Was Standing By the Window" (2 texts)
  4. BrownII 157, "They Were Standing by the Window" (4 texts)
  5. Shellans, p. 29, "Broken Engagement" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Roud #3535
  7. BI, R771