Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me

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"Shoo, Fly, Don't Bother Me!" is a song that was most likely written by T. Brigham Bishop[1] and first published in 1869 by White, Smith & Perry. It has remained popular since that time. Today, it is commonly sung by children, and has been recorded on many children’s records, including Disney Children's Favorite Songs 3, performed by Larry Groce and the Disneyland Children's Sing-Along Chorus.

The original song was published as "Shew! Fly, Don't Bother Me. Comic Song and Dance or Walk Round. Sung by Cool Burgess and Rollin Howard, melody by Frank Campbell, words by Billy Reeves, arr. by Rollin Howard." [2][3]

The song remained popular over the decades, and was commonly sung by soldiers during the Spanish-American War of 1898, when flies and the yellow fever mosquito were a serious enemy.

Lyrics[edit]

The lyrics are public domain:[4]


Shoo, fly, don't bother me,
Shoo, fly, don't bother me,
Shoo, fly, don't bother me,
For I belong to somebody.

I feel, I feel, I feel like a morning star,
I feel, I feel, I feel like a morning star.

Oh, shoo, fly, don't bother me,
Shoo, fly, don't bother me,
Shoo, fly, don't bother me,
For I belong to somebody.

The lyrics have been altered to remove content from the original song now considered offensive, so that today only the chorus is sung. The original version reads thus:[2]


I think I hear the angels sing,
I think I hear the angels sing,
I think I hear the angels sing,
The angels now are on the wing.

I feel, I feel, I feel,
That's what my mother said,
The angels pouring 'lasses down,
Upon this nigger's head.

Shew! fly, don't bother me,
Shew! fly, don't bother me,
Shew! fly, don't bother me,
I belong to Comp'ny G.

I feel, I feel, I feel,
I feel like a morning star,
I feel, I feel, I feel,
I feel like a morning star.
I feel, I feel, I feel,
I feel like a morning star.
I feel, I feel, I feel,
I feel like a morning star.

If I sleep in the sun this nigger knows,
If I sleep in the sun this nigger knows,
If I sleep in the sun this nigger knows,
A fly come sting him on the nose.

I feel, I feel, I feel,
That's what my mother said,
Whenever this nigger goes to sleep,
He must cover up his head.

Shew! fly, don't bother me,
Shew! fly, don't bother me,
Shew! fly, don't bother me,
I belong to Comp'ny G.

I feel, I feel, I feel,
I feel like a morning star,
I feel, I feel, I feel,
I feel like a morning star.
I feel, I feel, I feel,
I feel like a morning star.
I feel, I feel, I feel,
I feel like a morning star.

In popular culture[edit]

In the 1998 film A Bug's Life, one of the characters references the song's title. The Australian children's show Play School recorded a version for the albums There's A Bear In There, sung by Noni Hazlehurst, and In The Car, sung by John Hamblin.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Monday, July 01, 1935 (1935-07-01). "Music: Hymn from Maine". TIME. Retrieved 2012-03-09. 
  2. ^ a b "Shew! Fly, Don't Bother Me" Words and music: T. Brigham Bishop (?); pub.:White, Smith & Perry, Boston, 1869.
  3. ^ Eric Partridge and Paul Beale, A Dictionary of Catch Phrases: British and American, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day, pp. 408-409. Published by Routledge, 1986, SBN 041505916X, 9780415059169.
  4. ^ "Grandparents.com - For Grandparents, Parents & Grandchildren". Grandparentsmagazine.net. Retrieved 2012-03-09.