Composed: Info: Lyrics. Traditional Music of unknown author. I lost my true lover from courting too slow. One of the earliest versions of "On Top of Old Smoky" to be recorded in fieldwork was written down by the English folklorist Cecil Sharp, who during the First World War made three summer field trips to the Appalachian Mountains seeking folk songs, accompanied and assisted by Maud Karpeles. Though courting's a pleasure and parting is grief. A false-hearted lover is worse than a thief. On top of old Smoky, all covered with snow. For a thief will just rob you and take what you have.