The Banks Of Sweet Dundee (Lehr and Best) video
See also: Banks Of Sweet Trawlee (Leach)
#230: YouTube video by Jace999999
©2011 ~ Used with permission ~

It's of a farmer's daughter,
so beautiful I'm told;
Her parents died and leaved her
a large sum of gold.
She lived with her rich uncle,
was the cause of all her woe,
And soon you'll hear this maiden fair
that proved his overthrow.

Her uncle had a ploughboy
who Mary loved quite well,
Down in her uncle's garden
fond tales of love did tell;
There dwelled a wealthy squire
who Mary came to see,
But still she loved her ploughboy
on the banks of sweet Dundee.

Her uncle and the squire
rode out on one fine day:
'Young Willie he's in favour,'
her uncle he did say,
'And this is my intention,
to tie him to a tree
And then to bribe a press-gang
on the banks of sweet Dundee.

Her uncle rose one morning,
straightway to her he came
And knocking on her bedroom door,
those words to her did say:
'Arise, arise my fair pretty maid,
for a lady you will be;
The squire is now a-waiting for you
on the banks of sweet Dundee.'

'I care not for your lords or squires,
your dukes nor earls likewise -
My Willie's eyes appear to me
like diamonds in the skies.'
'Be gone undaunted fair maid,
unhappy you will be,
For I will banish Willie
from the banks of sweet Dundee.'

The press-gang came to Willie
when he was all alone,
He boldly fought for liberty,
but there was six to one;
The blood did flow in torrents:
'Pray kill me now,' said he,
'For I will die for Mary
on the banks of sweet Dundee.'

As Mary was a-walking,
lamenting for her love
She meet the wealthy squire
down in her uncle's grove.
'Stand off! Stand off!' cried Mary,
'Undaunted will I be,
'Twas you that drove the lad I love
from the banks of sweet Dundee.'

He throwed his arms around her
and he tried to throw her down -
Two pistols and a sword she saw
beneath his morning gown;
She took the weapons from him,
and the sword he used so free,
She fired and shot the squire
on the banks of sweet Dundee.

Her uncle overheard the noise
and hastened to the sound,
Saying: 'Since you shot the squire,
I'll give you your death wound';
'Stand off! Stand off!' cried Mary,
'Undaunted will I be.'
The trigger drew, her uncle slew
on the banks of sweet Dundee.

The doctor he was sent for
and a man of perfect skill,
And likewise a lawyer
for him to sign his will -
His gold he willed to Mary,
who fought so manfully
And he closed his eyes, no more to rise
on the banks of sweet Dundee.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad, The Banks Of Dundee (Undaunted Mary) [Laws M25], American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957). Also a variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad, Undaunted Mary; or, The Banks Of Sweet Dundee, published by J Pitts (London) sometime between 1819 and 1844, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 11(3942) ....####
This variant was collected by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best in 1976 from Moses (Uncle Mose) Harris [1911-?] of Lethbridge, NL, and published as #6 in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.12-13, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press © 1985/2003).

The video above features a recording by The Broadside from Grimsby (The Moon Shone Bright, Songs and Ballads collected in Lincolnshire, trk#B7, 1973 LP, Topic Records).

A ballad which apparently continues this story of Willie and Mary was collected in 1950 from Alphonsus (Alphonse) O'Driscoll [1901-?] of Tors Cove, NL, and published as Banks Of Sweet Trawlee in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).


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