Pat O'Reilly (Kenneth Peacock)

See also: Patrick Riley (Manus O'Conor)

My name is Pat O'Reilly
the truth I'll now make known,
For I was born in Ireland
the county of Tyrone.
My parents reared me tenderly
having no child but me,
With them I lived contented
till the age of twenty-three.

At length I took a notion
to cross the raging sea,
To seek of some employment
unto Americay;
To seek of some employment
a fortune to obtain,
When I have it well secured
to return straight home again.

I had a loving sweetheart,
Ann McCormick was her name,
When she heard that we were parting
straight way to me she came,
Saying, "Pat, can this be possible
you're going to prove unkind,
And leave me here broken-hearted
and sorrow here behind?"

I said, "Dear Ann, don't you lament,
it's you that I adore
My daily thoughts will be on you
while on Columbia's shore,
If ever I return again,
if God spares me my life,
Here is my hand in promises,
I'll then make you my wife."

With this she seemed quite satisfied
and home straight she did go;
'Twas early then next morning,
to Captain Pilot went;
She swore that I seduced her
and used her barb'ously,
And thought to force her to a pool
where she would quickly drown.

Police, they then surrounded me
as you may understand,
They marched me off to county jail
by the magistrate's command;
'Twas there I lay in irons
until my trial day,
But little was my notion
that she sweared my life away.

The thirty-first of July last
my trial now it begun,
And went from early morning
until the setting sun;
She swore that I seduced her
and used her barb'ously,
And robbed her of her purse of gold
upon the mossy lea.

The maid now by description
so lovely and so fair,
This maid she must be rightified
for all that she did swear;
The jury charged the victim,
the judge did loudly cry:
"For your cruelty unto this maid,
young Reilly you must die."

My mother being advanced in years,
having no child but me,
How can she stand to see her son
die on the gallows tree?
I never injured that false maid
that swore my life away.
May the Lord have mercy on my soul,
good Christians, for me pray!

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

This variant was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1951 from James Heaney [1886-1962] of Stock Cove, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports , Volume 1, pp.159-160, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

MacEdward Leach collected two other variants in 1951 from John J Bulger [1894-?] and John James [1903-?] both of Trepassey, NL, which were published as Pat O'Reilly in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

An older variant was collected by compiler and editor Manus O'Conor, and published in 1901 as Patrick Riley in Old-Time Songs And Ballads Of Ireland, p.35, by the Popular Publishing Company, New York.

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