Hard Times (Come Again No More)

I came across this song on the latest mix by Heather Browne on her consistently brilliant music blog I Am Fuel, You Are Friends. Here’s how Heather describes it:

I can’t tell if this song is a marker in the sand of celebration, a fervent wish made under our breaths, or (most likely) both. Eastmountainsouth is defunct now, with each of the pair making their own music, but I saw them live in San Francisco in 2005 and their powerfully-wending voices were part of the first surge of re-realizing that I needed music in my life that made me feel something. The way they sing this song from 1854 also makes me realize that we’ve collectively been wishing the hard times away for a long while now.

I actually missed the bit about the song being written in 1854 the first time round. That’s a mighty long time ago, but I suppose we like to kid ourselves about how modern we are, how much more sophisticated we are compared to what came before. Just like people in 1854 did, I suppose. Here’s a little history of the song, and here are the 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.

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.

There’s a pale drooping maiden who toils her life away,
With a worn heart whose better days are o’er:
Though her voice would be merry, ’tis sighing all the day,
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.

Hard Times (Come Again No More)