Pat O'Brien (MacEdward Leach)

Come all you good people
wherever you may be,
I hope you'll pay attention
and listen unto me;
'Tis all about two lovers,
was scarcely in their bloom,
When one of them was murdered
and the other hung last June.

'Twas near the town of Sligo
where their parents they did dwell,
They had one only daughter
and indeed they loved her well;
Pat O'Brien was this man's name,
ship's carpenter by trade,
Day and night he took delight
in courting this fair maid.

Until he gained her virgin bloom
which proved his overthrow,
And bad advice and jealousy
caused him for to do so;
He wrote his love a letter
and unto her did say,
"I have been working all this week,
working night and day.

"I like it will be your company
this evening in the grove."
This fair one she got ready
for to let no one know;
She dressed herself in private
and over there she go,
When he saw her coming
he ran himself to hide.

"Oh Paddy, my love Paddy,
what makes you look so pale?"
"I don't want none of your talk,
kneel down pray to your grave;
I swore an oath this evening,
no woman shall I deceive."
He caught her by the yellow locks
and pulled her to the ground.

With a knife he pressed her,
gave her a deadly wound,
With a spade he dug her grave
and then dashed out her brains;
That very same night
unto her mother's room she appeared,
Her mother she rose up to her
with neither dread nor fear.

Saying, "Mother, dearest mother,
you won't see me anymore,
For Pat O'Brien have murdered me
and left me in my gore;
Go straight unto John Keating's grove
and there don't make delay,
'Tis there you'll find my body
buried over in the clay.

"And on a rock my blood is spilt
where he have murdered me,
And go and have him taken,
for hung he'll surely be."
A large crowd assembled
on that very night.

They all walked around her
near about that place,
Pat O'Brien knelt over her
she dashed blood in her face;
This young man was taken,
put in a dismal cell,
The sight of his situation
he really couldn't tell.

They spoke of his execution,
he stood upon the dock,
He spoke those words so feebly,
he made the people shock:
"I'll tell ye, judge and jurymen
and all a-standing by,
'Twas I that murdered Nancy Ryan,
I'm willing for to die."

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a British broadside ballad [Laws P39] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957) ....####

Collected in 1950 from John Kehoe [1864-1952] of Flatrock, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

MacEdward Leach also collected two other variants in 1951, one with this same title from Mrs Catherine Mary (Kate) McCarthy [1890-1963] of Renews, NL, and one from Charles (Charlie) Williams [1875-1963] of St Vincent's, NL, published as Patrick Power (Parker). Both variants were also published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

Another variant was collected in 1978 from C Parsons of Placentia Bay, NL, by Eric West, and deposited in the Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA 78-236, ms. p.13)


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