#01407
Those Wedding Bells Shall Not Ring Out! (Leach)

A sexton stood one Sabbath eve
within a belfry grand,
Awaiting signal from the church
with bellrope in his hand;
As in the house of worship stood
a young and happy pair
To pledge their troth forevermore
each other's love to share.
The holy man then spake these words:
"Before you're joined for life,
Has any person aught to say 'gainst you
as man and wife?"
Then, down the aisle there came a man
with quick and eager tread,
And, pointing to the trembling bride,
these words he calmly said:

"Those wedding bells must not ring out,
She is another's bride,
I saw her at the altar-rail,
We stood there side by side;
She cannot claim another's hand
She dare not break the law's command,
A guilty wife you see her stand!
Those bells shall not ring out."

The minister was speechless,
and the bridegroom stood amazed,
The congregation spellbound sat
and thought the man was crazed,
The bride has not a word to say,
but simply hung her head.
"Who is this man?" the preacher asked.
"I know him not," she said.
Then ring the bells," the bridegroom cried.
The man knelt to entreat.
The sexton swung the chimes aloft,
the bells rang clear and sweet;
But scarce their music had begun
when forth there came a shout:
"Stand back! I say, they shall not ring,
those bells shall not ring out!"

"Those wedding bells shall not ring out,
I swear it on my life!
For we were wedded years ago,
And she is still my wife!
She shall not break her vows to me,
She's mine through all etemity;
She's mine till death shall set her free,
Those bells shall not ring out!"

A shriek of woe - a glit'ring blade -
a lurch - a flash - a dart -
And, like the lightning's stroke,
the blade had reach'd her trembling heart.
"You've killed his bride - Oh, God," they cried!
He swung the gleaming knife
And pierc'd his own heart as he gasp'd,
"Nay, not his bride - my wife."
Two forms lay cold within the aisle,
the husband and the bride,
As once in life he claim'd they stood
in wedlock, side by side;
His vow was kept, the bells had ceased,
and with his dying breath,
These words once more he murmur'd
'ere his lips were closed in death:

"Those wedding bells shall not ring out,
I swear it on my life!
For we were wedded years ago,
And she is still my wife!
She shall not break her vows to me,
She's mine through all etemity;
She's mine till death shall set her free,
Those bells shall not ring out!"

####.... A vaudeville ballad published in 1896 by Monroe H Rosenfeld [1861-1918] ....####

A variant was collected in 1951 from John J Bulger [1894-?] of Trepassey, NL, and published as The Forbidden Wedding in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was also collected in 1978 in Placentia Bay, NL, by Eric West, and deposited in the Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA) accession number 78-236.


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