#01599
The Nobleman's Wedding (Kenneth Peacock)
Four Variants

See also: The Nobleman's Wedding (Pamela Morgan)
And also: The Fatal Wedding (MacEdward Leach)

Jump down to Variant B (The Green Willow Tree)
Jump down to Variant C (The Green Willow)
Jump down to Variant D (The Wedding)
Variant A (The Nobleman's Wedding)

Once I was invited to a nobleman's wedding,
One of the company was asked to sing a song,
As it happened to fall on an old farmer's daughter,
Then the song quickly began:

'How can you lie on another man's pillow,
Knowing that he once was true love of mine?
And the large piece of gold that was broken between us,
Take it and keep it, no longer shall be mine.'

The bride she was seated at the head of the table,
Hearing these verses no longer could she stand;
Hearing those verses no longer could she bear it,
Down at the foot of the bride-groom she says:

"There is one request I am now going to ask you,
It is the first and I hope 'twill be the last:
Grant me this night for to sleep with my loved one
Then unto you I will do all the rest."

The question was asked and it quickly was granted,
Sobbing and sighing she then went to bed;
When he woke in the morning and called to her chamber,
When they went there they found she was dead.

The green weeping willow it is a fine flower,
Especially when it blooms in the spring of the year,
Where young men and maidens spend many of the hours
Kissing and courting with embraces so dear.

There is a tree in my old father's garden,
Some people call it a blossoming rue,
When it blooms out on a fine sunny morning,
That's for to teach all false lovers be true.

After the cow-slips and on come the daisies,
After the old ones along comes the new;
Just like the rose-bud that blooms in the summer,
And soon it will fade like the morning dew.

Collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1951 from James (Jim) Rice [1879-1958] of Cape Broyle, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.691-692, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Jump down to Variant C (The Green Willow)
Jump down to Variant D (The Wedding)
Variant B (The Green Willow Tree)

'Twas of a rich lady that lately got married
All to an old farmer that she did not know;
She once had a sweetheart, she loved him so dearly,
And he went to sea and she knew not where to go.

A voyage to the East Indies this young man then took,
Writing her letters in every foreign port;
But she did not get them and thought he was drowned,
So plans for the wedding she made up of every sort.

That night at the wedding a strange thing happened,
Her own true lover 'twas back he returned;
And she did not know him and thought him a stranger,
To the wedding she asked him and he did consent.

When supper was over and everything was ended,
Every man in this room was to sing a fine song;
The first one she called on was her former true lover,
And the song that he sang caused her poor heart to bleed.

'Oh, once I was invited to a nobleman's wedding,
All by a fair damsel who proved so unkind;
And she did not know him and thought him a stranger,
To the wedding she asked him and he did consent.'

The bride and the bridegroom sat at the head of the table,
Marking full well what this young man did say;
To bear it any longer poor girl she was not able,
So down at the bridegroom's feet she did fall.

"One favor, one favor I'm now going to ask you,
Hoping this favor it might be the last;
Grant me one night for to lie with my mother,
And the very next night you can sleep on my breast."

The favor was asked and instantly granted,
Crying and sobbing she went to her bed;
So early, so early all on the next morning,
She and her true lover were both found dead.

The green willow tree is a very handsome flower,
Always in blossom in each season of the year;
Where young men and maidens spent many a happy hour,
Kissing and courting but never draw near,

Collected in 1959 from Nicholas Keough [1879-1967] of Parson's Pond, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.693-694, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Jump down to Variant D (The Wedding)
Variant C (The Green Willow)

Come all you young fair maids I pray you pay attention,
And listen unto those few words I'm going for to say
Concerning a fair damsel who slighted her true love,
And fancied another whose riches were great.

Oh, the supper was over and all things made ready,
The question was asked for who would sing a song;
And it happened to fall on her own former lover,
And the song that he sung to herself it did belong.

Saying: "There is a tree in my father's yon garden,
And some people say that it's really true blue;
But when it brings forth fruit on a cold and frosty morning,
It is then all false lovers, it is then ye will rove true."

Oh, the supper was over and the dance it was ended,
And down at the knees of the bridegroom she fell.
Saying: "There is one question I'm going for to ask you,
And I hope that my husband won't deny it of me;
It's to grant me the first night to lie with my mother,
And forever after to lie, love, with thee."

Oh, the question being asked and was already granted,
And sobbing and sighing she went to her bed;
And when her husband rose up so early in the morning,
He went to her bedroom and found that she was dead.

Collected in 1951 from Howard Leopold Morry [1885-1972] of Ferryland, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.693-694, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Variant D (The Wedding)

Last Saturday night I was invited to a wedding,
By one I thought that would never prove unkind;
But now she is married to another true lover,
And her former true lover still runs in her mind.

The day that she was married and joined into her happiness,
Her old sailor true lover returned back from sea;
But she did not know him and thought him a stranger,
She invited him to her wedding, and to come he did agree.

When supper being over and all things being ended,
Every man in the room were to sing a fine song;
The first one that sung was her former true lover,
And the song that he sung unto her it did belong.

"Oh, here's a ring that's lately been broken,
Give unto me on yonder plain;
'Twas give unto me as a true lover's token,
And now with grief I'll return it again."

As the bride was a-sitting at the head of the table,
Marking those words what this young man had said;
To bear it any longer poor girl she were not able,
Down at her bride-groom's feet she instantly fell.

"One favor, one favor I'm now going to ask of you,
If you will grant it unto me;
To grant me the first night to lay with my mama,
All after this I will lay on your breast."

The favor was asked and so instantly granted;
Sobbing and crying she went to her bed;
So early, so early all on the next morning,
He had went to her bedside and found she was dead.

Collected in 1958 from Levi Everett Bennett [b.1899] of St Paul's, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, p.697, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

####.... Author unknown. All four of the above are variants of a British broadside ballad collected by George Petrie [1789-1866] and published in The Petrie Collection Of The Ancient Music Of Ireland, 2 Volumes (Dublin University Press 1855-1882) [Laws P31] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957) ....####
Kenneth Peacock noted that he reproduced all four variants of The Nobleman's Wedding because each has some point of interest not contained in the others, or a flaw in one of its verses that can be cured by replacing it with a good verse. He left this job of collation to the reader. The green willow is a symbol of loss or mourning.

A variant was collected in 1950 from Mrs Bride Power [1896-1967] of Tors Cove, NL, and published as The Fatal 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 1951 from Mrs Frances (Matthew) Sutton [1897-?] of Trepassey, NL, and published as The Gay Wedding in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was collected in 1929 from Patrick Lahey [1900-?] of Fortune Harbour, NL, and published as #75, The Nobleman's Wedding (pp.155-156) in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland, by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1933; and Folklore Associates, Hatboro, Pennsylvania, 1968).



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