#01943
Galway Town (MacEdward Leach)
See also: Willie Riley (MacEdward Leach)

My mother she's a widow,
and I liked it where she lived,
Near the town of Sligo
she kept her flour mills;
She reared me up most tenderly
a surgeon for to be,
But little did she ever think
transported I would be.

She sent me out one evening
my friends for to go see,
I met with an honourable lady
she fell in love with me;
Her fortune was ten thousand pounds
in ready money down,
Besides estate was willed to her
one side of Galway town.

The very next day as I came home
this fair maid wrote to me,
Johnny, lovely Johnny,
I am in love with thee;
If you will agree and come with me
it's married we will be,
Our friends and parents won't find it out,
we will go to Amerikay.

I wrote her back an answer
and this to her did say,
I says, honourable lady,
I am no match for thee;
Some great lord or nobleman
or a man with a high degree,
For if your parents would find out
transported I would be.

She wrote me back an answer
and this to me did say,
Oh, Johnny, lovely Johnny,
I am deep in love with thee;
If you don't agree on marrying me
my life I will destroy,
My ghostess will torment you
until the day you die.

I got in dread of what she said
with her I did agree,
With her I gave my whole consent
all for to run away;
Her ol' father followed after us
and that without delay,
He marched me back a prisoner
and lodged me in Sligo jail.

'Twas there I lay in Sligo jail
disturbed with a troubled mind,
Her old father to swear against me
I knew he felt inclined;
He said, good judge and juries,
no man can set him free,
Come, my great lord, he robbed my house
and stole my child away.

My trial went on, my sentence passed,
I was condemned to die,
This honourable lady she came down
most bitterly did cry;
She says, good judge and juries,
from death do set him free,
I loved him to destruction,
which was his destiny.

And out of prison I was set,
now thank God I am free,
In spite of her old father
I gained my liberty;
ln spite of her old father
in wedlock bands we're bound,
And living on her old estate
one side of Galway town.

####.... 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) ....####

Collected in 1951 from Patrick (Pat) Critch [1882-1963] of Flatrock, 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 a variant in 1950 from Raymond Noseworthy [1914-1985] of Pouch Cove, NL, and two other variants in 1951, from Will Sutton of Trepassey, and Mrs Thomas (Anastasia Ryan) Ghaney [1883-1959] of Fermeuse, NL, which were all published as Willie Riley in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).


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