#01144
The Bloody Garden (Kenneth Peacock)
See also: The Bloody Gardener (Maud Karpeles)

'Tis of a beauty fair oh,
and a shepherd's daughter dear,
She was courted by her own
true heart's delight;
She was a virgin bright oh,
his joy and heart's delight,
Oh, and nothing but death
could this young couple part.

His mother, false and cruel,
wrote a letter to his jewel,
And she wrote it in a hand
just like his own;
Saying, "Meet me here tonight,
meet me here, my heart's delight,
In the garden gay
nearby my mother's home."

The gardener agreed oh,
with fifty pounds indeed,
To kill this girl and
lay her in the ground;
And with flowers fine and gay oh,
her grave to overlay,
That way her virgin body
ne'er shall be found.

This fair one she arose oh,
and to the garden goes,
All for to meet her own
true heart's delight;
Where she searched the groves
all 'round oh,
but no true love she found,
Till at length,
the bloody gardener came in sight.

"Oh, madam, now I pray,
what brought you here this way,
Are you going to rob me
of my garden gay?"
"No," she said, "no thief I am,
I'm in search of a young man,
Who has promised for
to meet me here this way."

"Prepare, prepare," he cries,
"oh, prepare to lose your life,
Your virgin body bleeding in the ground;
And with flowers fine and gay oh,
your grave I'll overlay,
That way your virgin body
ne'er could be found."

She on the ground did fall oh,
and to the Lord did call.
Saying, "Oh, false cruel love,
is this your design?"
"No, his mother, false and cruel,
has betrayed you and your jewel,
And has paid me well
to make your heart all mine."

With that he drew a knife,
cut the single thread of life,
Lay her virgin body
bleeding on the ground;
And with flowers fine and gay
oh, her grave did overlay,
That way her virgin body
ne'er could be found.

This young man he arose
and to the garden goes,
All for to meet his own
true heart's delight;
Where he searched the grove all 'round
oh, but no true love he found,
Till the grove and the valleys
seemed to mourn.

Then he lay down to sleep
on a mossy bank so sweet,
Where a milk-white dove
flew swiftly o'er his head;
With her battering wings did beat
all about this young man's feet,
And when he awoke the dove she had fled.

The dove away did flee
and perched on a myrtle tree,
And the young man followed her
through the garden gay;
He called her soft and low
with his heart so full of woe,
Till he came to the place
where the dove did lay.

He said, "My pretty dove,
so mournful there above,
Have you lost your own true love
as I have mine?"
Down from the tree so tall oh,
she on the ground did fall,
Where she drooped her neck,
spread her wings, and bled from the breast.

This young man home did go
with his heart so full of woe,
Saying, "Oh, false cruel mother,
you have me undone;
Robbed me of my beauty bright
oh, my joy and heart's delight,
And 'tis soon now you shall have
no heir and son."

With that he drew a knife,
cut the single thread of life,
In the bloody garden
where his true love lay;
"Oh, my virgin beauty bright
oh, my joy and heart's delight,
So we both shall meet
all in the garden gay."

####.... Author unknown. Variant of an 18th-century British broadside ballad, The Bloody Gardener's Cruelty, or The Shepherd's Daughter Betrayed, published by W and C Dicey (London) sometime between 1736 and 1763, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 1(100) ....####

Collected in 1958 from Everett Bennett of St Paul's, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.668-670, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A variant was also collected in 1929 from Mrs May McCabe at North River, Conception Bay, NL, by Maud Karpeles and published as The Bloody Gardener in Folk Songs From Newfoundland (Faber & Faber, London, 1971).


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