The Beggar (MacEdward Leach)

See also: Willie And Mary (Kenneth Peacock)

As Mary and Willie sat by the seaside,
Their last farewell for to take,
Says Mary to Willie, "When you go from me,
I'm afraid that my fond heart will break."

"Oh, what's that you say, fond maiden," said he,
As he pressed his fond maid to his side;
"My absence don't mourn; when I will return,
I will make bonny Mary my bride."

Seven years passed away, no news from the sea,
Mary stood in her own cottage door;
And the beggar came by with a patch on his eye,
And his blue jacket ragged and torn.

"Extend your charity, little maiden," said he,
"And your fortune I'll tell you beside."
Saying, "The lad you adore won't return home no more,
For to make bonny Mary his bride."

"Oh, heavens," she said, "the joys that I feel,
It is for his misfortune I'll mourn;
He is welcome to me in his poverty,
And his blue jacket ragged and torn."

The beggar let fall the patch from his eye,
As his mantle he dropped down beside,
His cheeks rosy red and his jacket of blue,
As he stood by his own Mary's side.

"Forgive me, forgive me, fair maiden," said he,
"It is only your love I have tried.
To the church right away on this very day,
And I'll make bonny 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 1951 from Mrs McCarthy of Renews, 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 by Kenneth Peacock in 1952 from Peter Donahue [1892-1961] of Joe Batt's Arm, Fogo, NL, and published as Willie And Mary in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 2, pp.348-349, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.


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