Bad Companions (MacEdward Leach)

Come all you young companions
and listen unto me,
I'll tell you all a story
of some bad company;
I was born in Pennsylvania
among the beautiful hills,
And the memory of my childhood
is warm within me still.

I did not like my fireside,
I did not like my home,
I had in view far rambling
and far away did roam;
I bade adieu to loved ones,
to my home I said farewell
And I landed in Chicago
in the very depths of hell.

It was there I took to drinking,
I sinned both night and day,
And still within my bosom
this feeble voice would say:
"Oh, fare you well, my loved one,
may God protect my boy,
May God forever bless him
throughout his manhood joy."

I courted a fair young maiden,
her name I dare not tell,
For if I should ever disgrace her
while now I'm doomed to hell;
It was on a beautiful evening,
the stars were shining bright,
And with a fatal dagger
I bade her spirit flight.

So justice overtook me,
as you may plainly see,
My soul is doomed forever
throughout eternity;
Oh, now I'm on the scaffold
my moments are not long,
You may forget the singer,
but don't forget the song.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a native American ballad, Young Companions [Laws E-15] Native American Balladry (G Malcolm Laws, 1950/1964) ....####

Collected in 1951 from Mrs Mary Dunphy [1907-1984] of Tors Cove, 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 also collected as Young Companions and published in 1910 by John Avery Lomax [1867-1948] in Lomax's anthology, Cowboy Songs And Other Frontier Ballads.

Also published by John Avery Lomax and his son, Alex Lomax, with the same title (Macmillan, New York, 1938).

A variant was recorded in 1925 by Kelly Harrell as I Was Born in Pennsylvania (OKeh 40544).


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