Lullaby – Georgia

C                                 G

“I see the moon, the moon sees me

G7                 C

Under the shade of the old oak tree,

C                   C7             F            Dm

Please let the light that shines on me,

G                  G7         C

Shine on the one I love.

C                                G

Over the mountains, over the sea,

G7        C

That’s where my heart is longing to be,

C                     C7          F             Dm

Please let the light that shines on me,

G                  G7     C

Shine on the one I love.”

Sven told me that his mother used to sing this lullaby to him and his siblings for about as long as he can remember, ever since he was a little boy.  He said that his mother would sing it to him before going to bed, or just sitting on her lap in a rocking chair when not much else was happening.  Sven said that he always associated the lullaby with the evening time and also times in which he was feeling sick or troubled to calm and soothe him.  I asked Sven where he believed the song came from and he told me that he believed his grandmother used to sing the song to his mother while growing up in Georgia.

When I looked into the origin of this song I found that many different versions actually existed with various lines that changed and stayed the same from version to version.  As with most folk music, I could not find an author to the piece and I found there were many oicotypes that existed.

According to Tina Beaumont-Clay, staff writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, she found the lullaby in an old leaflet of camp songs.  The lyrics she found are as follows.

“I see the moon, the moon sees me, The moon sees somebody I want to see, God bless the moon and God bless me, And God bless the somebody I want to see, It seems to me that God above, Created you for me to love, He picked you out from all the rest, To be the one that I loved the best, I had a heart `twas true and good, But now it’s gone from me to you, Take care of it as I have done, Cause you have two and I have none.”  As made clear by this version and the version that Sven told, there is a major difference in words, thus proving the variation.

In addition to these two versions, there is a superstition from middle Tennessee that contains the same opening line.  The superstition is you are supposed to “Look at the moon some night and say, ‘I see the moon, the moon sees me; the moon sees someone I want to see.’  Then name the person whom you wish to see, and in a few days you will see that person.”  This could be a variation from the song or vice-versa.  Either way, it shows how phrases travel.  I’m not sure whether the fact that Sven’s mother learned the song in Georgia and this superstition is from Tennessee has any regional correlation, but there definitely could be a possibility seeing as they are both states from the southern U.S. and are very close to one another.

Annotation:  Beaumont-Clay, Tina.  “Trivia Q&A.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram 2 Oct.       2001

Annotation:  Farr, T.J. The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 48, No. 190 (Oct. – Dec.,    1935), pg. 333