1960: new York city
words of warning
don’t sing love songs, you’ll wake my mother,
she’s sleeping here, right by my side,
and in her right hand, a silver dagger.
she says that i can’t be your bride.
all men are false, says my mother,
They’ll tell you wicked, loving lies.
The very next day, they’ll court another,
leave you alone to pine and sigh.
My daddy is a handsome devil,
he’s got a chain five miles long,
and on every link a heart does dangle
Of another maid he’s loved and wronged.
Go court another tender maiden,
and hope that she will be your wife,
For i’ve been warned, and i’ve decided
to sleep alone all of my life.
From “Silver Dagger.” This version of the
traditional American ballad—of which there are
longer variations—was recorded by Joan Baez
for her self-titled debut album. The song has been
collected in the South since the early twentieth
century; it enjoyed popularity in the 1930s on the
radio and on records, often referred to as “Katy
Dear” and limited to three-minute arrangements.