Hard Times Come Again No More

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"Hard Times Come Again No More"
1854 sheet music cover
Songwriter(s)Stephen Foster

"Hard Times Come Again No More" (sometimes, "Hard Times") is an American parlor song written by Stephen Foster. It was published in New York by Firth, Pond & Co. in 1854 as Foster's Melodies No. 28. Well-known and popular in its day,[1] both in America and Europe,[2][3] the song asks the fortunate to consider the plight of the less fortunate and includes one of Foster's favorite images: "a pale drooping maiden".

The first audio recording was a wax cylinder by the Edison Manufacturing Company (Edison Gold Moulded 9120) in 1905. It has been recorded and performed numerous times since. The song is Roud Folk Song Index #2659.

Released seven years before the American Civil War, it gained great popularity during that conflict as an expression of suffering and hardship, to the point that a satirical version about soldiers' food became widely circulated as well, "Hard Tack Come Again No More".


Original sheet music

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 weeping 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.


Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band made "Hard Times" a focal piece of their 2009 Working on a Dream Tour.

"Hard Times Come Again No More" has been included in the following:


  1. ^ R. J. "The Fields of June". Southern Literary Messenger, vol. XXI, no. 8 (August 1855) Richmond, Virginia, p. 503: "Among these may be mentioned that sad plaintive beautiful melody of Foster's—'Hard times come again no more.' Have you heard it? What an echo of sadness in it! 'Tis the song the sigh of the weary— / Hard time! hard times! / Many days you have lingered / Around my cabin door, / But hard times come again no more!"
  2. ^ Sandford, Henry, Mrs. The Girls' Reading-Book. London: W. & R. Chambers (1876), p. 201: "It was in a sewing-school in Lancashire, during the latter part of the Cotton Famine, that the well-known song 'Hard times, hard time, come again no more!' first became familiar to my ears."
  3. ^ Hubbard, W. L. (ed.). History of American Music. New York: Irving Squire (1908), p. 80: "Other songs beside those designated as plantation melodies, but all more or less impregnated with sentiment, now came rapidly from his pen and obtained a wide popularity not only in America but in Europe as well. Such songs as ...'Hard Times Come Again No More', ... have become familiar to many nationalities."
  4. ^ "Hard Times Come Again No More". YouTube.com. Archived from the original on 2021-12-19.
  5. ^ Karger, Dave (January 22, 2010). "'Hope For Haiti Now': The telethon's 10 best performances". EW.com. Retrieved October 20, 2021.
  6. ^ Johnson, Malcolm (April 12, 1996). "'GEORGIA,' WITH HEARTFELT SINGING AND ACTING, LINGERS LONG ON THE MIND". courant.com. Retrieved October 20, 2021.
  7. ^ Turan, Kenneth (December 8, 1995). "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Georgia' Has Heart and Soul". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 20, 2021.
  8. ^ "Sing Sing Sing!". aoh.org. Archived from the original on 16 July 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Folkmill – Eesti Kullafond". lasering.ee. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  10. ^ "Speechless". amazon.com. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  11. ^ "זמן חשוך אל תשוב לכאן סטפן פוסטר נוסח עברי אהוד מנור שולי נתן והפונדקאים". Archived from the original on 2021-12-19 – via www.youtube.com.

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