MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Johnny Doyle
Raymond Noseworthy NFLD 1 Tape 14 Track 2
Pouch Cove Audio:
Ballad / lovers separated Laws M2

It being of a fair maid that was wandering in love
Keeping all her secrets to the great God above
Keeping all her secrets thinking it was time
To be rolled in the arms of her own Johnny Doyle

It being on one Sunday Evening we made out the plan
To be here Monday morning to be carried on
But the servant girl been listening to all we did say
Went straight to my Momma and gave us away

She locked me in my room so neatly and so high
Where no one could hear me or pity my sad cry
She sent for Willie Coleman to come and marry me
A man that I hated and didn't want to see

I got in to the carriage we dr.
(speak.) no, excuse me

We rode along together till we came to Cloudy town
The Church gates they were open and the clergy he came down
I gave to him my hand with a great deal of toil
But I'd far sooner marry my own Johnny Doyle

I got into the carriage with my brother I drove home
Saying, "Momma, Dearest Momma will you take me to my room
Willie Coleman'll never enjoy me nor calls me his wife
For I do intend sometimes put an end to my life."

It being early next morning this maid she was found dead
With Johnny Doyle's silk handkerchief tied around her head
And when she was dying it was, "Johnny Dear Farewell
There is more between you and I than any tongue can tell."

The day of Mary's funeral it was a glorious sight
Four and twenty fair maids all dressed in white
They brought her to St. Mary's Church and laid her in the soil
And there lies the darling of young Johnny Doyle


Sources: Mercer 140; Laws M2; Leach 64; Karpeles 1971: 212; Peacock, 687-90 (3 variants); alternative title, "It's of a Tender Maiden"; Henry 137; Roud 4430.

History: This song has been widely collected in the U.S.

Text notes:Eloping lovers are caught. The young woman is sent away and married to another. She dies of sorrow.

Tune notes: A classic arch-shaped, abba song in 4/4 metre (extended by pauses between phrases). A mixolydian tune, this one with the range of an octave.

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