Mama Lisa's World
International Music & Culture
Rubin, Rubin, I've Been Thinking
(American Traditional Song)

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"Rubin, Rubin, I've Been Thinking" was originally written by Harry Birch in 1871 with music by William Gooch. It was first called "Reuben and Rachel" and was a "comic duet". Below you'll find the lyrics to the way it's sung today, followed by the original lyrics…

Rubin, Rubin, I've Been Thinking
Traditional Song

Reuben, Reuben, I've been thinking.
What a strange* world this would be
If all the men were all transported
Far beyond the northern sea!

Rachel, Rachel, I've been thinking.
What a strange world this would be
If the girls were all transported
Far beyond the northern sea!

Reuben, Reuben, I've been thinking.
Life would be so easy then!
What a great world this would be,
If there were no tiresome men!

Rachel, Rachel, I've been thinking.
Life would be so easy then!
What a great world this would be,
If you'd leave it to the men!

Reuben, Reuben, I've been thinking.
If we went beyond the seas,
All the men would follow after
Like a swarm of bumblebees!

Rachel, Rachel, I've been thinking.
If we went beyond the seas,
The girls all would follow after
Like a swarm of honeybees!
 
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Notes

*Sometimes the lyric is "queer" instead of "strange".

Here are the original lyrics:

[Rachael]
Reuben, I have long been thinking,
What a good world this might be,
If the men were all transported
Far beyond the Northern Sea.

[Reuben]
Rachel, I have long been thinking,
What a good would this might be,
If we had some more young ladies
On this side the Northern Sea.

[CHORUS]

[Reuben]
Too ral loo ral loo

[Rachel]
Too ral loo ral

[Reuben]
Too ral loo ral loo

[Rachel]
Too ral loo lee

[Reuben and Rachel; overlapped voices]

[Rachel]
If the men were all transported
Far beyond the Northern Sea.

[Reuben]
If we had some more young ladies
On this side the Northern Sea.

[Rachael]
Reuben, I'm a poor lone woman,
No one seems to care for me,
I wish the men were all transported
Far beyond the Northern Sea.

[Reuben]
I'm a man without a victim,
Soon I think there's one will be,
If the men are not transported
Far beyond the Northern Sea.

(CHORUS)

[Rachael]
Reuben, what's the use of fooling,
Why not come up like a man?
If you'd like to have a "lovyer"
I'm for like your "Sally Ann."

[Reuben]
Oh my goodness! oh my gracious!
What a queer world this would be,
If the men were all transported
Far beyond the Northern Sea!

(CHORUS)

[Rachael]
Reuben, now do stop your teazing,
If you've any love for me;
I was only just a fooling,
As I thought of course you'd see.

[Reuben]
Rachel, I will not transport you,
But will take you for a wife,
We will live on "milk and honey,"
Better or worse, we're in for life.
(CHORUS)

Join the discussion about Rubin, Rubin on Mama Lisa's World Blog! Feel free to share the version of this song that you know!

Also check out the Jump Rope Song Rubin, Rubin.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Thanks to Lisa Papa for contributing this song!

Thank you very much!

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