Green Grow The Laurels (Kenneth Peacock)

See also: Lovely Jimmie (MacEdward Leach)

Oh, last Tuesday evening at the theatre hall
I met dearest Willie so handsome and tall,
I asked him if he'd wander a piece down the road,
I'd show him my father's dwelling, my place of abode.

"There's a tree in my father's garden, lovely Willie," said she,
"Where young men and maidens do wait upon me,
When my father is sleeping in his sweet silent rest,
Meet me there, lovely Willie, you're the one I love best."

My father lay in ambush those cruel deeds for to do,
And with his sharp weapon he pierced my love through.
Saying, "Father, dearest father, with woe my heart's filled
Since the blood of my innocent Willie you've spilled."

I will sit myself down on the place where he died,
And may heaven protect him, he's my own darling bride,
Tomorrow I am off to a strange country
Where I will know no one, nor no one know me.

Oh, green grow the laurels and the tops of them small,
But love is a phantom will conquer us all.
Since my Willie is a-sleeping in his sweet silent rest,
I am hoping for to meet him, lay my head on his breast.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a British broadside ballad, Lovely Willie [Laws M35] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957) ....####

Collected in 1959 by Kenneth Peacock from Mrs Clara Sophia Stevens [1916-1978] of Bellburns, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports , Vol 2, pp.456-457, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A variant was collected in 1951 from George J Carew [1918-1998] of Trepassey, NL, and published as Lovely Jimmie in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

Kenneth Peacock noted that this song is not to be confused with another of similar title, Green Grows The Laurels. In its tune and its last verse Peacock noted that this song bears a resemblance to Nancy From London. Although many ballads have dealt with this theme, Peacock had been unable to find it in other collections in its present form.


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