The Sweet Town Of Anthony (Lehr and Best)

In the sweet town of Anthony, as I passed it by,
In a neat little cottage I chanced for to spy,
Where the water runs clearly and everything nice -
Makes me think on old Erin in sweet Paradise.

I mounted on horseback nine miles I did ride
'Til I came to a cottage near the side of a road;
I said to myself, "In some strange country,
Perhaps there's some bonny lass and she may fancy me."

I 'lighted from horseback, went in and sot down -
This beautiful damsel I viewed her all 'round;
Her cheeks blushed like roses and her lips a pale red
And her eyes shone like diamonds as they rolled in her head.

I says, "My pretty fair one, will you come along with me?
We'll both ride to New Ross and married we'll be;
Your friends and relations they won't on us frown
For to live at Blackwater near fair London town."

"Young man," she made answer, and this she did say -
" 'Til there's further acquaintance between you and me,
You know it's heart-aching and a trouble on my mind
For to live at Blackwater, leave my true love behind."

New Ross is a bonny place, I heard people say
Where the small birds do whistle and the nightingale play;
Where the small birds do whistle and the nightingale sing -
I will sing my love's praises and then go away.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad, Bonny Kell's Waters, published by The Poet's Box (Glasgow) in 1856, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: 2806 b.11(201) ....####
Collected by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best in 1976 from Edward Ward [1916-?] of South East Bight, NL, and published as #104 in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.179-180, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press © 1985/2003).

Genevieve Lehr noted that Edward Ward learned this song from his father when he was very young. It is found in Irish folksong collections as The Sweet County Antrim. Helen Creighton collected a version in Nova Scotia with the name By Kells Waters. In that particular version of the song, Anthony is Antrim, New Ross is Bally Bay, and Blackwater is Kells Waters. Lehr concluded by noting that Anthony is pronounced "Antny."

See more songs by Lehr and Best

A variant was collected by Helen Creighton [1899-1989] in 1955 from Mrs Brian Bower (Finvola "Finn" Mhairi Redden) [1940-2014] of Shelburne, NS, as By Kells Waters and published in Maritime Folk Songs, p.51 (Ryerson, Toronto, 1962/1972).

The word 'sot' appears several times in the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English within quotations which serve as examples of usage for defined words. The word itself is not formally defined; however, we readily assume 'sot' as used in this song is the past tense of the verb 'sat' spoken with a Newfoundland dialect rather than a typographic error.


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