MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
A Jealous Lover
Performed by Mary Dunphy Accession # 78-054 NFLD 1 Tape 2 Track 4
Community: Tors Cove Audio:
Genre: Ballad / seduction-murder Laws F1


One night as the moon shone brightly
Brightly as it ever shone
When to a quiet cottage a jealous lover come

Said he, "Come let us wander
Through fields and meadows gay
And there we'll seat together
And appoint our wedding day."

So arm in arm they wandered
The nightbirds sang above
The jealous lover grew angry
With the beautiful girl he loved

Said he, "Those hills and valleys
You nevermore shall roam
So bid adieu to all your friends
To parents and to home!"

"Oh Willie won't you tell me
I know there's something wrong
You must not harm me Willie
For we have been friends too long!"

Down on her knees she pleaded
Saying, "God spare me my life
For I will never torment you
Or ask to be your wife

Now Willie you tell my mother
That I am dying here
That she might come to see me
And breathe one holy prayer."

"No I'll not tell your mother
That you are dying here
Nor will she come to see you
Or breathe one holy prayer!"

(speaks) Now (pause) that's not all of it.

Down on her knees before him
She begged him to spare her life
It was deep into her bosom
He plunged the fatal knife

He buried her quite lonely
Beneath a Willow tree
Where nothing but the snowbird
Can keep her company

Now all young men and women
Be warned by me today
A never go night walking
To appoint your wedding day


Sources: Mercer 138, Laws F1, Fowke 1994:86, cf Randolph II: 44; sometimes called "Florella." Roud 500.

History: Probably originating in the United States, since it is popular in Canada and the US but not found in the British Isles ( Fowke 1994 ).

Text notes: A seduction-murder ballad, probably fictional, though sometimes linked to the murder of Pearl Bryan in Kentucky in 1896.

Tune notes: Mary Dunphy and Therese White each sang a different tune, although both are in triple metre and have an abab stanza form. Leach also collected versions of this from Eddy Primroy of Pouch Cove and Theresa White of Port au Port

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