My Mantle Of Green (MacEdward Leach)

See also: The Mantle So Green (Kenneth Peacock)

As I roved out one evening in June,
To view the fields and the meadow so green,
I espied a young damsel, she appeared like a queen,
With her costly fine robes and her mantle so green.

I stood in amaze, I was struck with surprise,
I thought her an angel that fell from the skies,
Her eyes like the diamonds, her cheeks like a rose,
She is one of the fairest that nature composed.

Says I, "Pretty fair maid, if you'll come with me,
We'll both join in wedlock and married we'll be,
I will dress you in rich attire and you'll look like a queen,
With your costly fine robes and you're mantle so green."

She answered me, "Young man you must be refused,
For I'll wed no man you must me excuse,
To the green woods I'll wander for to shun all men's view,
Since the lad that I love lies in Waterloo."

"Since you will not marry tell me your love's name,
I have been in battle I might know the same."
"Draw near to my garment and there you will see,
His name is embroidered on my mantle so green."

On the raising of her mantle it's there I behold,
His name and his surname in letters of gold,
Young William Reilly appeared in my view,
"He was my trench comrade at Waterloo."

"We fought so victorious where bullets did fly,
And in the field of your true love does lie,
We fought for three days till the fourth afternoon,
He received his death summons on the eighteenth of June."

"As he was a dying I heard his last cry,
'Were you here, lovely Nancy, contented I'd die'
Now peace is proclaimed and the truce I'll declare
Here is your love's token the gold ring I wear."

She stood in amazement the paler she grew,
She flew from my arms with a heart full of woe,
To the greenwoods I'll wander for the lass that I love,
Rise up, lovely Nancy, your grief I'll remove.

Oh Nancy, lovely Nancy, it was I won your heart,
In your father's garden that day we did part,
In your father's garden within a green shady tree,
Where I rolled you in my arms in your mantle so green.

This couple have got married I heard people say.
They had nobles to attend them on their wedding day.
Now peace is proclaimed and the wars are all o'er.
You're welcome to my arms, lovely Nancy, once more.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad, The Mantle So Green [Laws N38] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957). Also a variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad, The Mantle So Green, published by J Moore (Belfast) sometime between 1846 and 1852, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 26(417). And also a variant of a 19th-century Scottish broadside ballad, The Mantle So Green, probably published between 1880 and 1900, and archived in The Word On The Street digital library at the National Library of Scotland, shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(85a) ....####

Sung in 1950 by Edward (Ned) Martin [1873-1955] of Cape Broyle, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was collected in 1952 by Kenneth Peacock from Henry James (Harry) Curtis [1895-1963] of Joe Batt's Arm, NL, and published as The Mantle So Green in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 2, pp.555-556, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A variant was also published as The Mantle Of Green in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland, #87, by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1933; Folklore Associates, Hatboro, PA, 1968).


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