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Template:Infobox Standard "Hard Times Come Again No More," sometimes called "Hard Times," is a popular American song written by Stephen C. Foster during 1854. Well-known and popular in its day,[1] both in America and Europe,[2][3] it was a favorite of both sides in the American Civil War. The song has been parodied many times. The first audio recording was a wax cylinder by the Edison Company (Edison Gold Moulded 9120) during 1905. It has been recorded numerous times since.

"Hard Times Come Again No More" begins with "Let us pause in life's pleasures and count its many tears while we all sup sorrow with the poor," and portrays sympathy for those who are impoverished. The refrain begs, "Hard times, come again no more."


Stephen Foster's original lyrics:[4]

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.

Recordings and performances


"Hard Times Come Again No More" led off the encores during Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's 2009 concert tour.

  • Barry de Vorzon on "Hard Times (1975) movie soundtrack, 1975
  • Red Clay Ramblers on Hard Times (album), 1977
  • Jennifer Warnes on Shot Through The Heart, 1979
  • De Danann on Song for Ireland, 1983
  • Mary Black on Collected, 1984.
  • The Proclaimers live at the Ritz 1987, never released.
  • Akiko Yano on Welcome Back, 1989
  • Bruce Morgan, 1990.
  • Kate McGarrigle and her family on the compilation Songs of the Civil War, 1991
  • Bob Dylan on Good as I Been to You, 1992
  • Emmylou Harris on At the Ryman, 1992
  • Lost Dogs on Scenic Routes, 1992
  • The Brandos on The Light of Day, 1994.
  • Seamus Kennedy Seamus Kennedy: In Concert, 1995
  • 2nd South Carolina String Band on Southern Soldier, 1997
  • Nanci Griffith on Other Voices, Too (A Trip Back to Bountiful), 1998
  • Graham Brothers on the compilation "Hard Times Come Again No More: Early American Rural Songs of Hard Times and Hardships, Volume 1", 1998
  • Peter Mulvey on Glencree, 1999
  • Mike Dowling on String Crazy, 2000
  • James Taylor, Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Mark O'Connor on Appalachian Journey, 2000
  • Bill Frisell on "Bill Frisell with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones", 2001
  • Ralph McTell on National Treasure, 2002
  • Johnny Cash on Unearthed, Volume Three, 2003
  • Mavis Staples on Beautiful Dreamer - The Songs of Stephen Foster, 2004
  • Mirah with the Black Cat Orchestra, on To All We Stretch the Open Arm, 2004
  • Laura Love on You Ain't Got No Easter Clothes, 2004
  • Renée Fleming on Haunted Heart, 2005
  • Willie Nelson with David Grisman, on Darol Anger's Heritage, 2005
  • Eastmountainsouth used in the film Elizabethtown, 2005
  • Side by Side, on Side by Side by Song
  • Thomas Hampson on American Dreamer, 1992, Song Of America, 2005, and in movie "The Neon Bible", 1995.
  • Dale Warland Singers on "Blue Wheat" 1996
  • Órla Fallon on Distant Shore, 2009.
  • Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band live on their Working on a Dream Tour, 2009.
  • David Bazan with Rosie Thomas, J. Tillman, Laura Gibson, John Totten, and Chris Totten on the compilation Come O Spirit! Anthology of Hymns and Spiritual Songs Vol. 1, 2009
  • The Isaacs on The Isaacs Naturally: An Almost A Cappella Collection, 2009
  • Donna Lynne Champlin, on Old Friends, 2009.
  • Mary J. Blige, on Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief, 2010


Further reading

  1. "The Digital Tradition", HRDTIMES*
  2. Roud #2659


  1. R.J., "The Fields of June", 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. Sanford, The Girls' Reading-Book, 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, History of American Music, 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. Foster, "Hard Times Come Again No More" (Sheet music).


  • Foster, Stephen C. "Hard Times Come Again No More" (Sheet Music). New York: Firth, Pond & Co. (1854).
  • Hubbard, W.L. (ed.). History of American Music. New York: Irving Squire (1908).
  • R.J. "The Fields of June". Southern Literary Messenger Vol. XXI No.8 (August 1855) Richmond, Va.
  • Sandford, Henry, Mrs. The Girls' Reading-Book. London: W. & R. Chambers (1876).
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