#02058
Pretty Quadroon (MacEdward Leach)

I will never forget when I met
Sweet Cora, my pretty quadroon,
I can still see her eyes shining yet,
as she vowed she'd be true 'neath the moon,
Her form was so radiant and fair,
she had cheeks like the wild rose in June,
And in ringlets her dark glossy hair
was fine pearls on my pretty quadroon.

Oh, my pretty quadroon,
a flower that faded too soon;
My heart like the strings on my banjo,
all broke for my pretty quadroon.

Oh, who were so happy as we?
We lived like a flower in June,
And the light of her dark rolling eyes
shined on an old slave like me;
But happiness will fade like a rose,
and before the next full of the moon,
The drummer will knock at my door
and steal Cora, my pretty quadroon.

Oh, my pretty quadroon,
a flower that faded too soon;
My heart like the strings on my banjo,
all broke for my pretty quadroon.

Farewell to Kentucky's green fields,
farewell to the green of the shore,
Farewell to the green clover fields
where Cora and I often strayed;
I can feel those cold northern breezes,
for they sound on the hill like a drum,
Oh, soon there would be a bad day,
a day of the loneliness to come.

One plunge in a dark muddy stream,
one struggle and all will be o'er,
My life floats away like a dream,
the voice of a drummer no more;
My sorrow will soon be forgot,
and my soul will find rest in the tomb,
My spirit will fly to the spot
and keep guard on my pretty quadroon.

Oh, my pretty quadroon,
a flower that faded too soon;
My heart like the strings on my banjo,
all broke for my pretty quadroon.

####.... Author unknown ....####
Transcribed from a degraded recording collected in 1951 from John James of Trepassey, NL, and published as Pretty Squadron, an obvious error in transcription, in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

An excerpt concerning a 1930 recording by the Beverly Hill Billies from the CSU Fresno Ballad Index: In the tortured stratification of racism, a quadroon was someone whose ancestry was one-fourth Negro - hence, someone with fairly light skin, and therefore of high status in the African-American community. This song was enormously popular in minstrel shows and vaudeville, well into the twentieth century. The description here seems to be that of the original poem, or perhaps a Civil War adaption. As it circulates in oral tradition; however, the details can be lost and it may become a lament simply for a girl lost (perhaps by death).



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