Historic Sheet Music Collection


J.H. Pixley

Document Type


Publication Date



Katie Lee and Willie Gray

Sung by the Alleghanians

Music by J. H. Pixley

Boston: Oliver Ditson & Co. (1863)

Some of these resources may contain offensive language or negative stereotypes. Such materials should be seen in the context of the time period and as a reflection of attitudes of the time. The items are part of the historical record, and do not represent the views of the library or the institution.


[Verse 1]

Two brown heads with tossing curls,
Red lips shutting over pearls,
Bare feet white and wet with dew,
Two eyes black and two eyes blue;
Little boy and girl were they,
Katie Lee and Willie Gray.

[Verse 2]

They were standing where a brook,
Bending like a shepherd’s crook,
Flashed silver, and thick ranks
Of green willow fringed the banks;
Half in thought and half in play,
Katie Lee and Willie Gray.

[Verse 3]

They had cheeks like cherries res;
He was taller ‘most a head;
She, with arms like wreaths of snow,
Swung a basket to and fro,
As she loitered, half in play,
Chattering to Willie Gray.

[Verse 4]

“Pretty Katie,” Willie said;
And there came a dash of red
Through the brownness of his cheek
“Boys are strong and girls are weak,”
And I’ll carry, so I will,
Katie’s basket up the hill.”

[Verse 5]

Katie answered, with a laugh,
“You shall carry only half;”
And then, tossing back her curls,
“Boys are weak as well as girls.”
Do you think that Katie guessd,
Half the wisdom she expressed!

[Verse 6]

Men are only boys grown tall,
Hearts don’t change much after all;
And when, long years from that day,
Katie Lee and Willie Gray,
Stood again beside the brook,
Bending like a shepard’s crook.

[Verse 7]

Is it stange that Willie said
While again a dash of red,
Crossed the brownness of his cheek
“I am strong and you are weak;
Life is but a slippery steep, Hung with shadows cold and deep;

[Verse 8]

“Will you trust me, Katie dear!
Walk beside me without fear;
May I carry if I will,
All your burdens up the hill!”
And she answered with a laugh,
“No, but but you may carry half.”

[Verse 9]

Close beside the little brook,
Bending like a shepard’s crook,
Washing with its silver hands,
Late and early at the sand,
Is a cottage, where, to day,
Katie lives with Willie Gray.

[Verse 10]

In a porch she sits and lo!
Swings a basket to and fro,
Vastly different from the one
That she swung in years agone;
This is long, and deep, and wide,
And has rockers at the side!



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.