Village Maid (MacEdward Leach)

One day the larks with cheerful note
Sang loudly in the air,
While on my way I chanced to meet
A maid both gay and fair;
In a humble style both neat and trim,
With a basket on her arm,
Her smile some honouring art would yield
Unto that village charm.

"Where are you going, fair maid," said he,
"So early in the morning?"
"I'm going to market, kind sir," she said,"
My daily bread to earn;
For father is dead and mother is poor,
No friends, kind sir," she said,
"Therefore away I cannot stay,"
Replied the village maid.

"You shall have houses, you shall have lands
And everything you crave,
If you will consent for to be mine,
Sweet, charming, lovely maid."
"It's not your houses or your lands
Will win my heart," she said,
"Although, kind sir, that I am poor,
I am but a village maid.

"I am, kind sir, of a lowly birth
And you of a high degree,
Therefore away I cannot stay
Nor on me make too free;
Young Edmond is the lad l love,
He has my heart by trade,
Therefore away l cannot stay,"
Replied the village maid.

"Next day when daily toil is o'er
He meets me at yon stile,
He talks of love and the church bell rings
And on me he do smile;
He won my heart and his bride I'll be,
No other on earth I crave."
There's none so happy or yet so gay
As the lovely village maid.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland ballad ....####
Collected in 1951 from Mrs Catherine Mary (K) McCarthy [1890-1963] 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 sung in 1929 by Patrick Mooney [1856-ca.1945] of Fortune Harbour, NL, and collected as #77, The Humble Village Maid Going A-Milking in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1933; Folklore Associates, Hatboro, Pennsylvania, 1968)


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