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Bill Basham

The words and music to the tune are usually attributed to Percy Montross circa 1880. According to a post to the UK Ballad Newsgroup, Montross based his composition on Down by the River Liv'd a Maiden by H. S. Thompson (1863). A copy of the H.S. Thompson tune can be found at the Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music.

The tune has since become a popular song with countless different verses (for children, Scouts, etc), as well as some bawdy versions.

In a cavern, in a canyon,
Excavating for a mine
Dwelt a miner forty niner,
And his daughter Clementine

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Light she was and like a fairy,
And her shoes were number nine,
Herring boxes, without topses,
Sandals were for Clementine.


Drove she ducklings to the water
Ev'ry morning just at nine,
Hit her foot against a splinter,
Fell into the foaming brine.


Ruby lips above the water,
Blowing bubbles, soft and fine,
But, alas, I was no swimmer,
So I lost my Clementine.


How I missed her! How I missed her,
How I missed my Clementine,
But I kissed her little sister,
I forgot my Clementine.

Related Links
Information and lyrics from
Best Loved Songs of the American People
See Bibliography for full information.