“Gentle Annie” written in 1856 by Stephen Foster is a popular American Song.
An alternative version from Australia is also known as Gentle Annie. This was published in Australian Tradition, Vol. 1, in 1964. The tune is the same as the Stephen Foster version, but the lyrics are different.The Australian lyrics were written by Lame Jack Cousens of Springhurst, Victoria. Sources state that its subject is Annie Waits.
This is the Australian version
I learned this song from David Lumsden back in the early 1960’s, and as with all the other songs that I sing it is one of my favourites. I remember David telling me that the ‘Gentle Annie’ referred to was actually his grandmother, Annie Waits, whose parents owned a hotel in the Riverina area, bordering Victoria and New South Wales, Australia, where many of the contract harvesters and shearers would stay en route to their jobs. The Lumsden family were, and are, very important people as they went round Victoria collecting songs from the old singers thus preserving these for future generations.
Gentle Annie by Lame Jack Cousens/ tune Stephen Foster
Now the harvest time’s come Gentle Annie
And your wild oats are all scattered round the field
You’ll be anxious to know Gentle Annie
How your little crop of oats is going to yield.
Now your mutton’s very sweet Gentle Annie
And I’m sure it can’t be packed in New South Wales
And you’d better put a fence round those cabbage
All they’ll all get eaten up by the snails.
And you’ll take my advice Gentle Annie
And you’d better watch old Chaffie going away
With his package hung over his saddle
And he stole some knives and forks the other day.
Now the bullocks they are yoked gentle Annie
And you know with you I can no longer stay
So I’ll bid you farewell Gentle Annie
And I’ll meet you on another threshing day
I will say farewell Gentle Annie
For you know with you I can stay no more
So I’ll bid you adieu Gentle Annie
You’re the little dark eyed girl that I adore.