The Bloody Gardener (Maud Karpeles)
See also: The Bloody Garden (Kenneth Peacock)

'Twas of a lady fair, a shepherd's daughter dear,
She was courted by her own sweetheart's delight,
But false letters mother wrote: Meet me dear, my heart's delight,
For it's about some business I have to relate.

O, this young maid arose and to the garden goes
In hopes to meet her own true heart's delight;
She searched the ground and no true love she found,
Till at length a bloody gardener appeared in view.

He says: My lady gay, what brought you here this way,
Or have you come to rob me of my garden gay?
She cries: No thief I am, but I'm in search of a young man,
Who promised that he'd meet me here this way.

Prepare, prepare, he cried, prepare to lose your life.
I'll lay your virtuous body to bleed in the ground,
And with flowers fine and gay your grave I'll overlay
In the way your body never will be found.

He took out his knife, cut the single thread of life,
And he laid her virtuous body to bleed in the ground,
And with flowers fine and gay her grave he overlaid,
In the way her virtuous body never should be found.

This young man arose and into the garden goes
In hopes to meet his own true heart's delight;
He searched the garden 'round, but no true love he found,
Till the groves and the valleys seemed with him to mourn.

O, he sat down to rest on a mossy bank so sweet
Till a milk-white dove came perching round his face,
And with battering wings so sweet all around this young man's feet,
But when he arose this dove she flew away.

The dove she flew away and perched on a myrtle tree,
And the young man called after her with speed;
This young man called after her with his heart filled with woe,
Until he came to where the dove she lay.

He said: My pretty dove, what makes you look so sad,
Or have you lost your love as I have mine?
When down from a tree so tall, down on her grave did fall,
She drooped her wings and shook her head and bled fresh from the breast.

O, this young man arose and unto his home did go,
Saying: Mother dear, you have me undone;
You have robbed me of my dear, my joy and my delight,
So it's alone with my darling I'll soon take flight.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of an 18th-century British broadside ballad, The Bloody Gardener's Cruelty, or The Shepherd's Daughter Betrayed, published by W and C Dicey (London) sometime between 1736 and 1763, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 1(100) ....####

Collected in 1929 from Mrs May McCabe at North River, Conception Bay, NL, by Maud Karpeles and published in Folk Songs From Newfoundland (Faber & Faber, London, 1971). Maud Karpeles noted that a more sophisticated broadside version with twenty-seven stanzas is to be found in the Harvard University Library in a fourteen-volume collection of ballads printed by Catnach, Bebbington, Ryle, etc. An extract is quoted in Brand's Popular Antiquities, Volume III, p. 217 (1893 edition). Another similar version, entitled The Bloody Gardener's Cruelty, or The Shepherd's Daughter Betrayed, is in a chapbook, printed at Tewkesbury at the beginning of the century by S. Harrow. A relative of his, an old lady of over ninety, used to sing the ballad (see J. Harvey Bloom's Folk Lore in Shakespeare Land), but it was not noted from her; the only other version with tune that has come to light so far is to be found in Peacock, Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, p.668.

A variant was also collected in 1958 from Everett Bennett of St Paul's, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published as The Bloody Garden in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.668-670, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.


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