My Old Kentucky Home

(1853)

"My Old Kentucky Home," originally titled "Poor Uncle Tom, Good Night!," is the state song of Kentucky.

The facts surrounding the composition of this song point to the influence of Uncle Tom's Cabin rather than a visit to Kentucky. Foster may or may not have visited his cousins in Bardstown, Kentucky at their mansion Federal Hill, but the original sketch of this song, dating from 1852, substitutes "Poor Uncle Tom" for "My Old Kentucky Home" and aligns Foster's sympathies with the Abolitionist movement.

--Christie Finn

Original Lyrics (composed by Foster):


Verse 1:
The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home,
'Tis summer, the darkies are gay;
The corn-top's ripe and the meadow's in the bloom,
While the birds make music all the day.
The young folks roll on the little cabin floor,
All merry, all happy and bright;
By 'n' by Hard Times comes a-knocking at the door,
Then my old Kentucky home, goodnight.


Chorus:
Weep no more my lady
Oh! weep no more today!
We will sing one song for the old Kentucky home,
For the Old Kentucky Home far away.


Verse 2:
They hunt no more for the possum and the coon,
On meadow, the hill and the shore,
They sing no more by the glimmer of the moon,
On the bench by the old cabin door.
The day goes by like a shadow o'er the heart,
With sorrow, where all was delight,
The time has come when the darkies have to part,
Then my old Kentucky home, goodnight.


Chorus


Verse 3:
The head must bow and the back will have to bend,
Wherever the darky may go;
A few more days, and the trouble all will end,
In the field where the sugar-canes grow;
A few more days for to tote the weary load,
No matter, 'twill never be light;
A few more days till we totter on the road,
Then my old Kentucky home, goodnight.


Chorus


Revised Lyrics (from 1968):


The sun shines bright in My Old Kentucky home,
'Tis summer, and people are gay;
The corn-top's ripe and the meadow's in the bloom
While the birds make music all the day.
The young folks roll on the little cabin floor
All merry, all happy and bright;
By 'n' by hard times comes a knocking at the door
Then My Old Kentucky Home, good night!


Weep no more my lady
Oh! weep no more today!
We will sing one song
For My Old Kentucky Home
For My Old Kentucky Home, far away.

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