#01170
The Babes In The Greenwood (The Cruel Mother)
[Child #20] video
#761: YouTube video by raymondcrooke
©2012 ~ Used with permission ~

There was a lady from New York,
Fair flowers of Alley-o;
She fell in love with her father's clerk,
In the green woods of Bondie-o.

She had two babes by this young man,
Fair flowers of Alley-o;
But he would not wed nor take her hand,
In the green woods of Bondie-o.

Two thousand pounds in her hand was lain,
Fair flowers of Alley-o;
To take her babes and have them slain,
In the green woods of Bondie-o.

She drew a penknife long and sharp,
Fair flowers of Alley-o;
She pierced it in their tender hearts,
In the green woods of Bondie-o.

She buried them under a marble stone,
Fair flowers of Alley-o;
And prayed to God it would never be known,
In the green woods of Bondie-o.

As she sat one day in her father's hall,
Fair flowers of Alley-o;
She saw two babes out playing the ball,
In the green woods of Bondie-o.

"Oh, babes, oh, babes, if you were mine,
Fair flowers of Alley-o;
I would dress you up in silk so fine,
In the green woods of Bondie-o."

"Oh, mother, oh mother, when we were thine,
Fair flowers of Alley-o;
You did not dress us in silk so fine,
In the green woods of Bondie-o.

"You left us weep on the cold, cold ground,
Fair flowers of Alley-o;
And feared for your life we would soon be found,
In the green woods of Bondie-o.

"You took a penknife long and sharp,
Fair flowers of Alley-o;
You pierced it in our tender hearts,
In the green woods of Bondie-o.

"You buried us under a marble stone,
Fair flowers of Alley-o;
And prayed to God it would never be known,
In the green woods of Bondie-o.

"Now heaven is high and hell is low,
Fair flowers of Alley-o;
And when you die it's to hell you will go,
For murdering your babes in Bondie-o."

####,,,, Author unknown. Variant of an English traditional, The Cruel Mother [Child ballad #20] The English And Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898) edited by Francis James Child (Dover, 1965) ....####
This variant collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1960 from John T (Jack) Dalton [1911-1989] of Codroy, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.804-805, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that this tale is known in Northern European folklore and doubtless comes to us from this source.

A variant was collected in 1951 from John James [1903-?] of Trepassey, NL, as The Green Woods Of Bonnie-O in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

The video above features an excellent performance of a variant by Raymond Crooke of Melbourne, Australia.


See more Child Ballad variants from NFLD.


line

Index Page
GEST Songs Of Newfoundland And Labrador



line

~ Copyright Info ~

~ Privacy Policy ~

Confirm Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Here