I first came across "Nellie Gray" when browsing through Geoffrey Brace's Something to Sing
. This is a popular American ballad of the nineteenth century based on the true story of a white American soldier whose Negro bride was taken from him, back into slavery. It's very sad, cheerless stuff indeed and pretty melancholy. Just consider the third verse:
"My eyes are getting blinded and I cannot see the way.
Hark, there's somebody knocking at my door!
Oh, I hear the angels singing, and I see my Nellie Gray!
Farewell to the old Kentucky shore.