William And Mary (Kenneth Peacock)

See also: The Beggar (MacEdward Leach)

As William and Mary strayed by the sea-side,
Their last farewell for to take,
Said Mary to William, "If you never return,
My poor heart will certainly break."

She sighed for her William a great length of time.
"Oh, William, sweet William!" she cried,
"If you evermore again from the seas, love,
Return to make sweet Mary your bride."

Three years went and passed
when the news came at last,
When she sat in her own cottage door;
When a beggar passed by with a patch on his eye,
All ragged, dirty, and torn.

"If your charity you'll bestow unto me,
Your fortune I'll tell you beside;
The lad that you mourn for will never return
To make little Mary his bride."

"If he's living," said she, "and in poverty,
His fortune I never will mourn,
For he's welcome to me in his poverty
With his blue jacket ragged and torn."

The beggar threw off the patch from his eye,
His old coat critched from his side;
Two cheeks like the roses, his jacket so blue,
'Twas William stood by Mary's side.

"Little Mary," said he, "don't be angry with me,
'Twas only your love that I tried,
In riches I roll and my clothes are of gold."
And he made little Mary his bride.

To retrace from the cottage he led her away,
In transport he kissed her and cried:
"Forever again I'll remember the day
I made little Mary my bride!"

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad, Willie And Mary [Laws N28] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957). Also a variant of an early 19th-century British broadside ballad, Little Mary, The Sailor's Bride, published by J Catnach (London) sometime between 1813 and 1838, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Firth c.13(140) ....####

Collected in 1952 by Kenneth Peacock from Peter Donahue [1892-1961] of Joe Batt's Arm, Fogo, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 2, pp.348-349, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that variants of this love-trial ballad have appeared in two American collections, Folk Songs of Mississippi by A P Hudson (Page 153), and American Ballads And Songs by Louise Pound (#93).

A variant was also collected in 1951 from Mrs Catherine Mary McCarthy [1890-1963] of Renews, NL, and published as The Beggar in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).


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