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Clementine

Midi created by Bill Basham

History of the song 

Although the author and copyright status for Clementine are "unknown," the words and music to the original version of the song are usually attributed to Percy Montross, circa 1880. According to a note in the UK Ballad Newsgroup, Montross based his composition on Down by the River Liv'd a Maiden by H. S. Thompson (1863). Clementine has since become a popular song with countless different verses for children, Scouts, etc.

Drowning tragedies happen entirely too frequently for both children and adults, and that is actually the subject of this ballad. Notice that a key point is made in the verse where the singer admits "alas, I was no swimmer." Many water tragedies could be prevented by LEARNING TO SWIM and learning more about general water safety precautions  BEFORE going in or very near the water. Swimming lessons and lessons in water safety could save lives, while also ensuring that water sports stay "fun" for everyone. In addition, the children's version of the song also cautions kids to learn about artificial respiration (or CPR  ) as an immediate first aid treatment for drowning victims.

Original Version

In a cavern, in a canyon,
Excavating for a mine
Dwelt a miner forty niner,
And his darling Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine.

Light she was and like a fairy,
And her shoes were number nine,
Herring boxes, without topses,
Sandals were for Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine.

Drove she ducklings to the water
Ev'ry morning just at nine,
Hit her foot against a splinter,
Fell into the foaming brine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine.

Ruby lips above the water,
Blowing bubbles, soft and fine,
But, alas, I was no swimmer,  
So I lost my Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine.

How I missed her! How I missed her,
How I missed my Clementine,
But I kissed her little sister,
I forgot my Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine.
 

 

Children's (or Scout's) Version

In a cavern, in a canyon
Excavating for a mine
Lived a miner forty-niner
And his daughter, Clementine.

Oh, my darling, oh, my darling
Oh, my darling Clementine
You are lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine.

Light she was and like a fairy
And her shoes were number nine
Herring boxes without topses
Sandals were for Clementine.

Oh, my darling, oh, my darling
Oh, my darling Clementine
You are lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine.

Drove her ducklings to the water
Every morning just at nine
Hit her foot against a splinter
Fell into the foaming brine.

Oh, my darling, oh, my darling
Oh, my darling Clementine
You are lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine.

Ruby lips above the water
Blowing bubbles soft and fine
But, alas, I was no swimmer,  
So I lost my Clementine.

Oh, my darling, oh, my darling
Oh, my darling Clementine
You are lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine.

Then the miner, forty-niner
Soon began to peak and pine
Thought he oughta join his daughter
Now he's with his Clementine.

Oh, my darling, oh, my darling
Oh, my darling Clementine
You are lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine.

There's a churchyard on the hillside
Where the flowers grow and twine
There grow roses, mongst the posies
Fertilized by Clementine

Oh, my darling, oh, my darling
Oh, my darling Clementine
You are lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

In my dreams she still doth haunt me
Robed in garments soaked in brine
Though in life I used to hug her
Now she's dead, I draw the line

Oh, my darling, oh, my darling
Oh, my darling Clementine
You are lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine.

Now you kids [or Scouts] may learn the moral
Of this little tale of mine
Artificial respiration  
Would have saved my Clementine.

Oh, my darling, oh, my darling
Oh, my darling Clementine
You are lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine.

How I missed her, how I missed her
How I missed my Clementine
Till I kissed her little sister
And forgot my Clementine.

Oh, my darling, oh, my darling
Oh, my darling Clementine
You are lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine.


Midi created by Bill Basham