The Suffolk Miracle (Kenneth Peacock)

'Tis of a merchant lived in this town,
He had a daughter beautiful and fair,
He had a daughter of beauty bright,
And in every feature was his delight.

Both lords and squires came to court this maid,
But none of them could her favour gain,
Till at length a lad of low degree
Came a-courting her and she fancied he.

But when her father he came to know,
It was four score miles she had to go,
It was four score miles this young girl was sent
To her uncle's house at her discontent.

This young man waited but 'twas in vain,
He knew she would never return again,
And with a grievèd heart he down did lie
To mourn his love and soon to die.

And she was up in her room so high
She heard a voice, a most dismal cry,
She heard a voice, a most dismal sound:
"Do unlock those doors that you have so fast bound."

Her mother's mantle she did quickly view,
Her father's broadsword, a safeguard too.
He said, "My dear, 'tis for you I am come,
By your father's orders you must go home."

'Twas on his horse she did mount behind,
She rode more faster than the wind.
As they rode along oh those words did say:
"Hark, my valiant Esther, oh my head do ache."

A holland handkerchief she then took out,
She bound his head then all 'round about.
"Unlight, my jewel, and go to bed,
I will see that your horse in his stable is fed."

Oh when she came to her father's door,
Her father was standing all on the floor.
She said, "Father dear, did you send for me
Oh by such a messenger, kind sir?" said she.

Her father knowing that young man was dead,
His hair all stood on end on his head;
He wrung his hands and cried mortal sore,
But this young man's father cried more and more.

Early next morning this young girl arose,
And straight unto the grave-yard she goes;
She rose the corpse that laid five days dead,
With a holland handkerchief tied 'round his head.

Come all young girls now a warning take,
Your own true lover don't never forsake,
For mine is dead and he's gone from me,
And his face no more I shall never see.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of Child ballad #272. The English And Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898) edited by Francis James Child (Dover, 1965). Also a variant of a broadside ballad printed for W Thackery and T Passinger (London) dated 1689, The Suffolk Miracle; Or A Relation Of A Young Man Who A Month After His Death Appeared To His Sweetheart, Wood E 25(83) ....####
Collected in 1958 by Kenneth Peacock from Isaac Freeman Bennett [1896-1981] of St Paul's, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 2, pp.407-408, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

From the Glossary of Textile Terms, 18th-Century New England Life Clothing and Accoutrements:
Holland - fine linen cloth first imported from Holland; after the 18th-century the name was applied to any fine linen. (An Elegant Art. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 1983.)

See more Child Ballad variants from NL.


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