#00314
The Butcher Boy (Kenneth Peacock) MIDI
See also: The Butcher Boy (Ryan's Fancy)
And also: Butcher Boy (Sons of Erin)
And also: She Died In Love (Kenneth Peacock)
midi1   alt: midi2

In Jersey city where I did dwell,
A butcher boy I loved so well;
He courted me my heart away,
And now with me he will not stay.

There is a girl all in this town,
Where my love goes and sits right down;
He takes a strange girl upon his knee,
And he tells to her what he don't tell me.

A grief to me, I'll tell you why,
Because she has more gold than I;
Her gold will waste and her silver fly,
In times of need, she'll be as poor as I.

Go and get a chair and sit me down,
And pen and ink for to write it down;
On every line, she dropped a tear,
On every verse crying, "Willie dear!"

He went upstairs and the door he broke,
He found her hanging all from a rope;
He took his knife and cut her down,
And in her bosom those lines were found:

"Oh, what a silly girl am I,
To hang myself for a butcher boy."
And on her breast those lines were found,
To show the world that she died for love.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad, The Butcher Boy [Laws P24] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957). Also a variant of the broadside ballad, The Butcher Boy, published by H De Marsan (New York, NY) circa 1860, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 18(72) ....####
Collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1959 from Mrs Wallace (Amelia J) Kinslow [1903-1985] of Isle aux Morts, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.707-708, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A very similar variant was collected in 1951 from Albert (Bert) Fitzgerald [1918-?] of Trepassey, NL, and published as The Butcher Boy in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was also collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1959 from Mrs Thomas (Annie) Walters [1896-1986] of Rocky Harbour, NL, and published as She Died In Love in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.705-706, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that some of the most beautiful lyric verse in the English language is to be found in this traditional ballad and its relations. The relationships and cross-influences among all these songs are so complex that it is doubtful if the "original" will ever be discovered.

A variant was arranged and recorded as Butcher Boy by Sons of Erin, featuring bandleader Ralph O'Brien, Johnnie Lynn, "Wee" John Cameron, and Denis Ryan on their self-titled album, Sons Of Erin, ca.1970.


See more songs by Sons of Erin.

A variant was also recorded as The Butcher Boy by Ryan's Fancy (Newfoundland Drinking Songs, ©1973, Audat Records).

See more songs by Ryan's Fancy.


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