Lyrics

Oh dear what can the matter be, (repeat twice)
My maid has gone to the fair.

He promised to give me a fairing to please me
And then for a kiss, oh! he vowed he would tease me
He promised to buy me a bunch of blue ribbons
To tie up my bonny brown hair.

This funny version was found in the Wisconsin State Journal in 1864. It was written to exhort parents, who during the U.S. Civil War had not taken much interest in public schooling in Madison, to visit the schools of their children. (source)

Refrain
Oh, dear, what can the matter be?
Oh, dear, what can the matter be?
Oh, dear, what can the matter be?
Parents don’t visit the school.

They visit the circus, they visit their neighbors;
They visit their flocks and the servant who labors;
They visit the soldiers with murderours sabers;
Now, why don’t they visit the school? Refrain

They care for their horses, they care for their dollars;
They care for their parties and fancy fine collars;
But little, we think, do they care for their scholars;
Because they don’t visit the school. Refrain

We know we from hunger and cold are protected;
In virtue and knowledge our minds are directed;
But still we do think that we are sadly neglected;
Because they don’t visit the school. Refrain

Links

The following content is available below to Plus Members:

  • PDF includes:
    • Song with chords in 2 keys
  • MIDI file
  • MP3