#01815
The Blind Beggar (MacEdward Leach)

Now, it's of a blind beggar for a long time was blind,
He reared one comely daughter both handsome and fine;
He reared one comely daughter was pleasing to see,
And everyone called her their bonny Betsy.
He reared one comely daughter was pleasing to see,
And everyone called her their bonny Betsy.

Now, the first came to court her was a captain so gay,
He came to court Betsy by night and by day;
"My ship's on the ocean I'll resign unto thee,
If you'll grant me one favour, my bonny Betsy.
My ship's on the ocean I'll resign unto thee.
If you'll tell me your father, my bonny Betsy."

Oh, the next came to court her was a merchant so bright,
He came to court Betsy by day and by night;
Saying, "Silver and gold I'll resign unto thee,
If you'll grant me one favour, my bonny Betsy.
Silver and gold I'll resign unto thee,
If you'll tell me your father, my bonny Betsy."

The next came to court her was a squire so gay,
He came to court Betsy by night and by day;
Saying, "Diamonds and pearls I'll resign unto thee,
If you'll grant me one favour, my bonny Betsy.
My diamonds and pearls I'll resign unto thee,
If you'll tell me your father, my bonny Betsy."

"My father is a beggar, sure that is well known,
My father is a beggar, the truth I will tell;
He's called the Blind Beggar of Battlin' Green,
He is led by his dog with a chain and a bell."

Up speaks the captain saying, "I'll not have you."
Up speaks the merchant saying, "I'll not have you."
Then up speaks the squire, "Let the beggar agree,
And you're welcome to my arms my bonny Betsy."

Up speaks her old father as he stood in the door,
"Don't despise my daughter because she is poor,
Because she can't dress in the finest of pearl.
We will draw spangles on her the bonny brown girl."

The squire drew a spangle that reached to the ground,
The beggar-man threw down his ten thousand pounds;
The squire then threw down the rest of his store,
And the beggar man doubled it ten thousand times more.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a British broadside ballad, The Blind Beggar's Daughter of Bednall Green, [Laws N27] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G. Malcolm Laws, 1957). Also a variant of an 18th century British broadside ballad, The Blind Beggar's Daughter Of Bethnal Green, published by W and C Dicey (London) sometime between 1736 and 1763, printed and sold at the printing-office in Bow-Church-Yard, London, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 3(62) ....####
Collected in 1951 from Cyril O'Brien [ca.1902-?] of Trepassey, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

Also published by MacEdward Leach [1897-1967] as The Blind Beggar's Daughter Of Bednell (Bethnal) Green in The Ballad Book, pp.694-695 (A S Barnes, New York, 1955).

A variant was also collected by Maud Karpeles [1885-1976] and published as #57, The Blind Beggar's Daughter Of Bethnal Green, in Folk Songs From Newfoundland (Faber & Faber, London, 1971; also Oxford, 1934).

A variant was recorded in 1928 by Jane Quackenbush from the singing of John Henry Gueunuex, Barr'd Harbour, NL, and published as #32, The Blind Beggar, on p.71 in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1933; Folklore Associates, Hatboro, Pennsylvania, 1968).



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