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Red River Valley

ca. 1870

This tune likely comes from Manitoba's Red River Valley, instead of the more southern Red River Valley, and the original lyrics reference the loss an indigenous girl feels for her departing Scottish lover.

Canadian folk song, Manitoba

Original lyrics for the final two verses:


The dark maiden’s prayer for her lover
To the spirit that rules o’er the world
His pathway with sunshine may cover
Leave his grief to the Red River girl.

There could never be such a longing
In the heart of a white maiden’s breast
As dwells in the heart you are breaking
With love for the boy who came west.

These are the lyrics that indicate this was originally a lament by a Métis girl.

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1. From this valley they say you are going,
We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile,
For they say you are taking the sunshine
Which has brightened our pathways a while.


Come and sit by my side if you love me;
Do not hasten to bid me adieu,
But remember the Red River Valley,
And the girl that has loved you so true.

2. I've been thinking a long time, my darling,
Of the sweet words you never would say,
Now, alas, must my fond hopes all vanish?
For they say you are going away.

3. Won't you think of the valley you're leaving,
Oh, how lonely and sad it will be,
Just think of the fond heart you're breaking,
And the grief you are causing to me.

4. From this valley they say you are going,
When you go, may your darling go too?
Would you leave her behind unprotected,
When she loves no one other than you.

5. As you go to your home by the ocean,
May you never forget those sweet hours,
That we spent in the Red River Valley,
And the love we exchanged 'mid the flowers.

6. I have promised you, darling, that never
Will a word from my lips cause you pain,
And my life, it will be yours forever,
If you only will love me again.

7. They will bury me where you have wandered,
Near the hills where the daffodils grow,
When you're gone from the Red River valley,
For I can't live without you I know.

songs based on
"Red River Valley"
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