As I Roved Out One Evening (MacEdward Leach)

As I roved out one evening in summer,
'Twas down by the seaside I carelessly strayed;
I spied a young couple escorting each other,
This innocent virgin to him she did say:
Come tell me in plain, young man, what do you mean?
Of courting I'm weary, are you inclined to marry?
Or from my fond company you must refrain.

He said, my pretty fair maid, I do very well like you,
And in your fond company takes great delight;
But sooner than marry I longer will tarry,
I'd rather live longer of a quiet single life.
When a man he is wed all joys they are fled,
He loses his liberty, he's bound down to slavery;
So fare you well, darling, I'll wish you good night.

When you're going to be married, love, write me a letter,
Oh, yes, my dear darling, I'll do so by thee;
And if I am living you shall have what you're wishing,
If there's any such thing, oh it's marriage for me.
Farewell and adieu I bid unto you,
P'raps our parting drives us to promotion;
It's only exchanging the old love for new.

'Twas home she did go with her heart full of sorrow,
Away in the willows sad moan she did make;
She dearly loved him she scorned to tell him,
And all of the time she lay dying for his sake.
And dying she lay a-pining away,
Till at length a young squire came for to court her;
The son of a nobleman who lived that way.

He said, my pretty fair maid, I very well like you,
And in your fond company takes great delight;
I have a large fortune 'twill rise us to promotion,
And if you'll agree, love, I'll make you my wife.
The couple agreed but married with speed,
'Twas a short courtship as late was recorded;
She wrote her old sweetheart a letter in speed.

She wrote him a letter and that in a hurry,
To come to her wedding on the ninth day of June;
And said that he do instead of some other,
To tend on the table and on the bride's groom.
Those few lines to read caused his heart to bleed,
Oh, have I lost her, yes, foolishly lost her;
Fair maid, have I lost you, yes, foolish indeed.

He saddled his horse and drove off in a hurry,
Expecting one sight of his darling to see;
But when he went there she was in higher promotion,
The tears from his poor eyes like fountains did flow.
If I had to know how soon you would go,
I'd no longer tarry 'twas you I'd a married;
So step up behind me and leave him alone.

Oh, do you remember one fine summer's evening,
As we were a-walking down by the seaside?
Oh, yes I remember one Saturday evening,
You gave me your offer your suit I denied.
It's no matter, said she, how you slighted me,
You're welcome to my wedding but not to my bedding;
You're welcome to wait on the squire and me.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional ballad ....####

Collected in 1951 from John M Curtis [ca.1877-?] of Trepassey, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).


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