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You Never Miss the Water Till the Well Runs Dry, song lyrics

Song: You Never Miss the Water Till the Well Runs Dry
Lyrics: Rowland Howard(1) or Harry Linn(2)

Music: Rowland Howard(1) or Harry Linn(2)
Year: unknown(1) or 1872(2)
Country: USA

When a child I liv'd at Lincoln,
With my parents at the farm,
The lessons that my mother taught,
To me were quite a charm;
She would often take me on her knee,
When tired of childish play,
And as she press'd me to her breast,
I've heard my mother say:

Waste not, want not,
Is a maxim I would teach,
Let your watchword be despatch,
And practice what you preach;
Do not let your chances,
Like sunbeams pass you by,
For you never miss the water,
Till the well runs dry.

As years roll'd on I grew to
Be a mischief-making boy,
Destruction seem'd my only sport,
It was my only joy;
And well do I remember,
When oft-times well chastis'd,
How father sat beide me then,
And thus has me advis'd:
This song was originally posted on

When I arriv'd at manhood,
I embark'd in public life,
And found it was a rugged road,
bestrewn with care and strife,
I speculated foolishly,
My losses were severe,
But still a tiny little voice,
Kept whisp'ring in my ear:


Then I studied strict economy,
And found to my surprise,
My funds, instead of sinking,
Very quickly then did rise;
I grasp'd each chance,
and always struck the iron while 'twas hot,
I seiz'd the opportunites,
And never once forgot:
This song was originally posted on

I'm married now and happy,
I've a careful little wife;
We live in peace and harmony,
Devoid of care and strife;
Fortune smiles upon us,
We have little children three,
The lesson that I teach them,
As they prattle on my knee:



1 - Transcribed from the sheet music published by C. F. Johnston, 918 Main Street, Richmond, Virginia.

2 - Transcribed from the sheet music published by Balmer & Weber, 206 N. Fifth St, Saint Louis, Missouri.

3 - We could not verify who was first with one set of sheet music not being dated; Nor can we find any background on either person at this time.