#01365
Willie Riley (MacEdward Leach)
See also: Galway Town (MacEdward Leach)

"Rise up, young Willie Riley,
and come along with me,
I mean for to go with you
and leave this country;
I leave my father's dwellings,
his houses, and his land,
And I'll go with Willie Riley,
I'm his fair Colleen Bawn."

They go by hills and mountains
and by yon lonesome streams,
Through shady groves and valleys,
all dangerous to refrain;
But her father followed after
with a well-armed band,
And taken was poor Riley
and his fair Colleen Bawn.

It's home then she was taken
and in her closet bound,
Poor Riley all in Sligo jail
lay on the stony ground;
Till at the bar of justice
before the judge did stand,
For nothing but the stealing
of his fair Colleen Bawn.

The judge he said,
"This lady being in her tender youth,
If Riley he deluded her
she will declare the truth."
Then like a spotless angel
before them she did stand,
"You're welcome here," says Riley,
"my fair young Colleen Bawn."

"So good my Lord, he stole from her
her diamonds and her rings,
Gold watch and silver buckle,
and many costly things;
I gave them to my daughter,
they cost one thousand pounds,
When Riley was first taken,
those things with him were found."

"So good my Lord, I gave to him
in token of true love,
He never stole my jewels,
I swear by all above;
If you've got them with you, Riley,
pray send them home to me."
"I will, my generous lady,
with many thanks," said he.

Up spoke the noble lord,
"You may let the prisoner go,
The lady has quite cleared him,
the jury well doth know;
She hath released young Riley,
the bill must be withdrawn,
Then set at large the lover
of the fair young Colleen Bawn."

Up spoke the noble fox then
who stood attentive by,
"Gentlemen of this jury,
for justice we reply;
To hang a man for love
is foul murder you may see,
So spare the life of Riley
but banished let him be."

She says, "There's a ring amongst them, lad,
I'll wish you for to wear,
It's set with costly diamonds
and it's plaited with my hair;
It's a token of true love, lad,
wear it on your right hand,
That you'll think of a broken heart, love,
when you're in a foreign land.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a British broadside ballad, Riley's Trial [Laws M10] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957). Also a variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad, William Riley And Colinband, published by T Batchelar (London) sometime between 1817 and 1828, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: 2806 b.11(51) ....####

This variant collected in 1950 from Raymond Noseworthy [1914-1985] of Pouch Cove, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

MacEdward Leach also collected two more similar variants in 1951, from Will Sutton of Trepassey, and Mrs Thomas (nee Anastasia Ryan) Ghaney [1883-1959] of Fermeuse, NL, which were published as Willie Riley in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

MacEdward Leach also collected a variant in 1951 from Patrick (Pat) Critch [1882-1963] of Flatrock, NL, which was published as Galway Town in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).


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