Poor Babes In The Wood


O don't you remember
A long time ago
Two poor little babes,
Their names I don't know.
They strayed far away,
On a bright summer's day.
These two little babes
Got lost on their way.

Poor babes in the wood!
Poor babes in the wood!
Oh! don't you remember
Those babes in the wood?

Among the trees high,
Beneath the blue sky,
They plucked the bright flowers
And watched the birds fly.
Then on blackberries fed,
And strawberries red,
And when they were weary
'We'll go home,' they said.

Poor babes in the wood!
Poor babes in the wood!
Oh! don't you remember
Those babes in the wood?

And when it was night,
So sad was their plight,
The sun it went down,
And the moon gave no light!
They sobbed and they sighed
And they bitterly cried
And long before morning,
They lay down and died.

Poor babes in the wood!
Poor babes in the wood!
Oh! don't you remember
Those babes in the wood?

And when they were dead,
The robins so red,
Brought strawberry leaves
And over them spread.
And all the day long,
On the branches did throng,
They mournfully whistled,
And this was their song:

Poor babes in the wood!
Poor babes in the wood!
Oh! don't you remember
Those babes in the wood?

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Information About Poor Babes In The Wood

Legend says that if a robin redbreast finds a dead body in the woods it will cover it with moss.


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Nancy Hall, United States

9 June 2016 at 4:45am

My grandfather sang this to all the grandchildren and we always cried. It was recently sung on "A Prairie Home Companion". Historically, the Russian Jews living in the ghettos in the late 1800's would leave their children early in the morning alone in the dark forest while they were allowed to work one day a month--they were afraid their children would be killed while they were away.. They would come back later at night and retrieve them. I often wondered if this song was about them.

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Alice, United States

2 November 2015 at 11:55pm

My mother also sang this song to when she rocked me to sleep. This is such a sweet memory eventho it is a sad song. I imagine my grandmother sang it to as a baby. I am 75 years old and when my babies were infants I sang this to them. When I sang this song to one of my babies she would cry every time.

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Sandy Ballard-Sutterby, Sedalia, Mo

1 November 2015 at 5:49am

My Grandmother was born in 1900 and sang this song to her Nine children. She later sang it to me, as did her mother. I have wanted to find this song for years and tonight had the idea to Google it. I was amazed and thrilled to find the whole song. I have sang what I knew to my children and grandchildren, although I was taught"Three little babes instead of two. I wonder, maybe cause Momma had three baby's. I am curious to find the tune in which o was sang. I k ow what I was taught, actually I sang it to two of my granddaughters tonight. Which is why I got the idea to Google it. What a blessing. I am so glad I did. I only wish Momma was still hear to see this. Sadly she passed almost a year ago. Nov23 2014. I will go to the cemetery and sing it to her....

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Sue, Waukesha, Wisconsin

1 June 2015 at 7:34pm

My Mother used to sing this to her four children at bedtime. Always loved the words, no matter how sad. We would beg her to sing it over and over. She told us that her mother used to sing it to her and thought her mother made it up!!! Her Mom was Polish, so I always questioned this, because is seemed very English in origin to me. Now I believe it was originally sung to us by my Paternal Grandmother who's family came from England--we lived with Grandma when I was a infant. I sang this to my children and now sing it to my infant Granddaughter. Some say it was originally published by Tarrington in 1601. Thank you Tarrington for the wonderful memories.

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Antoinette, United States

16 April 2015 at 3:13pm

I remember my great grandmother (born in 1896) singing this to me as a child in the earrly 1970's. She also folded a washcloth while singing it. The end result resembled 2 infants wrapped in a blanket.

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suzy, United States

10 February 2015 at 8:57pm

I would like to know who wrote the song poor babes in the woods

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Patrice, United States

21 January 2015 at 1:00am

My Granny used to sing this to my brother and I when we were very young. We're in our 60's now. She was born in 1892 and probably learned it from her mother who was born in 1848. They both were reared in Scott County, Virginia, USA which is in the southern Appalachians .This is the first site I have searched and hope to find one with the melody to see if it is the same as what we knew. Glad I could see the lyrics because I only remembered the chorus. I didn't get scared from the song, but definitely sad.

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Susan, United States

18 December 2014 at 8:26pm

My mother sang this to my sister and me. My grandmother sang it to her when she was a child. I sang it to my daughter. My family was from Arkansas but I now live in Texas. It is interesting to see the words to it as some of our words are different but similar. I loved the melody and never thought about it being scary only sad. We will keep our version going in our family.

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Cameo, United States, Missouri

10 October 2014 at 2:34am

My mom sang this song to me when I was little. I was born in 1979. She said her grandfather sang it to her and her sisters. Some of the lyrics are a little different, but as a whole it's pretty much the same. The chorus was never included and I'm looking for a recording of this song to hear how the chorus goes. I would love to hear it if anyone knows how to find it.

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Melinda, Arkansas

24 June 2014 at 5:22pm

Babes in the Woods is thought to be about the princes in the tower, and some say that the song dates to the Renaissance.

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Suzanne, United States

16 May 2013 at 2:06am

My mom sang this to me, I was born in 1954. She passed 2 years ago, and I thought of it tonight. So glad to see the entire words written down. I loved this song as a nighttime sleep song. I hope another child finds it too....

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Jonathan, United Kingdom

10 April 2013 at 9:46pm

This is a folk song that has crossed an ocean as it has been sung to children as a lullaby in England for well over a hundred years. Both my mother and my grandmother sang it to their children. Our tune is similar to the American tune but without the twang.

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Alesa, United States

16 January 2013 at 3:49am

I too was sung a version of this song by my great grandmother who was born in 1881. She was raised outside Pollack, Louisiana but I live in Arkansas. I sang it to my children, but they don't want me to sing it to their children because it scares them!

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Carolyn, United States

17 November 2012 at 8:34pm

Thank you so much, I've searched for this for so long. I'm 62 and the youngest of 6 children. My mother sang this song to me when I was very young, and I have held it safe in my heart, remembering it always. I asked my older siblings recently and none of them remembered it. I feel very fortunate to have been given this gift, and to find the entire song, as my 90 yr old mother couldn't remember all of it and her memory sadly, is going bit by bit.. By the way, she was from Arkansas. I would love to know the song's history. Thank you again for allowing me to sing the entire song and shed a happy tear.

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Abby, United States

11 April 2012 at 10:53am

My Grandmother sang this song to me when I was a little girl; haunting as it is, I always remembered it. She passed away yesterday at 94 years old and I'm thrilled to find the whole song written down.

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Mary Jo, United States

21 December 2011 at 5:05am

My grandmother sang this song to my mother and my mother sang it to me, and she sang it to my children. I am finally going to be a grandmother so I am happy to find the words so, although I don't sing well, I will sing it to my grandchild to carry it on for a fourth generation.

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Cindy, United States

11 September 2011 at 6:15am

I can remember my mom singing this song to me as I sat in her lap, and she rocked me to sleep. When I remember the words, I always feel a bit melancholy. My mom finally admitted that she liked to sing this song to me because it made me cry...she thought it was 'cute'. Yes, my family has a weird sense of humor, and but this warms my heart and brings warm memories to me.

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Lauren, United States

19 June 2011 at 5:59am

When I was a little girl, my grandma who I called middy used to sing this to my brother and I every night before bed. She passed away and now the only person in our family who knows it is my aunt carol who can barely speak. Im so thrilled that I could find the lyrics to a family nursery rhyme.

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Amy, United States

28 February 2011 at 5:57pm

My dad read this poem to me when I was a little girl. I have spent forever trying to find the poem for I had forgotten the words. When my dad passed away in September 2009 I was packing away some of his things and found a photo copy of the page from the nursery rhyme book and was delighted that my dad had saved a copy for me. I just wish he were here to read it to me.

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Nancy, United States

16 January 2011 at 5:56pm

My grandmother sang this song to my mother, MaryEtta (now 95), and to my Uncle George, age 94. They were young children and my mom is just now telling me about this song. I'm delighted to find all of the words so she can sing what she has yet to remember.

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This song has been printed from the BusSongs.com website.