Click on arrow to hear the song performed by Derek B. Scott, Professor of Critical Musicology, University of Leeds, to his own piano accompaniment.

Professor Scott explains that the success of this ballad convinced George Root he had the makings of a highly successful songwriter. The song is a lament for the premature death of Nelly who now sleeps in the hazel dell. It became popular as a sentimental number for minstrel troupes, and featured regularly in concerts in the UK given by Gilbert Pell’s American Opera Troupe during 1857–60. George Root went on to write many other popular songs, the best known of all being his Civil War ballad “Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!” of 1864.


Scott, Derek B. The Singing Bourgeois: Songs of the Victorian Drawing Room and Parlour. 2nd ed. Aldershot, Hampshire; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2001.

Created 11 April 2016