“The Gypsy's Warning”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1864 (sheet music)
Keywords: Gypsy love warning
Found in: US(MW,So,SW)


"Trust him not, oh gentle lady, Though his voice is low and sweet." "Listen to the Gypsy's warning, Gentle lady, trust him not." The Gypsy tells of a girl betrayed; the lady scorns (her). (The sequel may give the man's self-defense and the lady's answer)


This probably originated as three separate pieces, the original being "The Gypsy's Warning" and the sequels being the "Answer to the Gypsy's Warning" (in which the young man begs the girl "Do not heed her warning") and the "Decision in the Gypsy's Warning" (in which the girl decides to heed the warning).

The three can, however, be sung together, and they are obviously dependent. What is more, the versions have sometimes merged (e.g. in the version in Peters). So I am listing them as one song even though I know they are multiple.

The song seems to have been in tradition by 1880; Laura Ingalls Wilder quotes the first part in _By the Shores of Silver Lake_, chapter 22. - RBW



  1. Randolph 743, "The Gypsy's Warning" (4 texts, 1 tune, the first being the "Gypsy's Warning" proper, the second the "Answer to the Gypsy's Warning," the third being "The Decision in the Gypsy's Warning," and the last an excerpt from a copyrighted piece by Monroe H. Rosenfeld)
  2. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 525-527, "The Gypsy's Warning" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 743A)
  3. MHenry-Appalachians, pp. 154-155, "The Gypsy's Warning" (1 text)
  4. Brewster 55, "The Gypsy's Warning" (1 text plus mention of 1 more); 56, "Answer to the Gypsy's Warning" (1 text)
  5. JHCox 149, "The Gypsy's Warning" (1 text)
  6. JHCoxIIB, #30, pp. 201-202, "The Gypsy's Warning" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
  7. Spaeth-ReadWeep, pp. 19-21, "Love's Ritornella" (2 texts, 1 tune, with this piece listed as an appendix to the song named)
  8. cf. Gardner/Chickering, p. 479, "The Gypsy's Warning" (source notes only)
  10. Roud #1764 plus 3761
  11. BI, R743