Hard Times, Come Again No More

Words & Music by Stephen Foster

“’Tis the song, the sigh of the weary….”

Noah Brooks

This heartbreaking masterpiece of 1855, sung by the entire company as the show’s finale, was written by Stephen Foster to capitalize on the popularity of Charles Dickens’ novel, Hard Times. It is said to be based on a melody he heard as a boy attending the church of his black nurse. It has been recorded many times by an amazingly wide range of singers, and was reported by his friend and collaborator George Cooper to be one of the songs sung most often by Foster himself in his last, hard days.

Lyrics

Let us pause in life’s pleasures and count its many tears,
While we all sup sorrow with the poor;
There’s a song that will linger forever in our ears,
Oh! hard times come again no more.

‘Tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
Hard times, hard times, come again no more;
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door,
Oh! hard times, come again no more….

‘Tis a sigh that is wafted across the troubled wave,
‘Tis a wail that is heard upon the shore….
‘Tis a dirge that is murmured around the lowly grave,
Oh! hard times come again no more.

‘Tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
Hard times, hard times, come again no more;
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door,
Oh! hard times, come again no more….

While we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay,
There are frail forms fainting at the door.
Though their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say,
“Oh! hard times come again no more.”

‘Tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
Hard times, hard times, come again no more,
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door,
Oh, hard times come again no more.
Oh, hard times come again no more.

Song Excerpt

Listen to “Hard Times, Come Again No More” performed by Gary Marachek and the original New York cast.

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