#02560
Four Marys [Child Ballad #173] videos
#814: YouTube video by bodhrannf
©2009 ~ Used with permission ~

Yestere'en the Quene had four Marys,
Tonight she'll hae but three;
There was Mary Seaton and Mary Beaton,
Mary Carmichael and me.

O, little did my mother think,
The day she cradled me,
The lands I was to travel in.
The death I was to see.

For just last night I dressed my quene,
And put gold in her hair,
But I have gotten as my reward,
The gallows to be my share.

They'll tie a kerchief around my eyes,
That I may not see to dee,
And send nae word to mother dear,
That's far awa' over the sea.

Yestere'en the Quene had four Marys,
Tonight she'll hae but three;
There was Mary Seaton and Mary Beaton,
Mary Carmichael and me.

O, I wish I could lie in our ane kirkyard,
Beneath yon willow tree,
Where we pulled the rowans
and we strung the gowans,
My brothers, my sisters and me.

Yestere'en the Quene had four Marys,
Tonight she'll hae but three;
There was Mary Seaton and Mary Beaton,
Mary Carmichael and me.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of Child Ballad #173 ....####
The video above features an excellent cover performance arranged and recorded by Stephen Rowe of Heart's Content and Gander, NL.

A variant was arranged and recorded by Edison Carson Williams [1935-2006] of Pool's Cove, NL and Dartmouth, NS (The Roving Newfoundlander, Roving Again, trk#2, Audat Records, Oshawa, Ontario).

According to notes from the Edinburgh University Medieval Society Newsletter, this is a medieval Scottish song. It tells the story of one of Mary Stewart's (Mary Queen of Scots) waiting women who was executed in one of the many political upheavals of her reign. However, the Official Marie Stuart Society has found that the four ladies-in-waiting of Mary Queen of Scots were Mary Seton, Mary Beaton, Mary Fleming and Mary Livingston - there was no Mary Carmichael. Nonetheless, this popular song was believed to be relating to Mary Queen of Scots until it was traced back to the court of the Tsar of Russia. The ballad dates between 1719 and 1764 and narrates the story of Mary Hamilton, Peter the Great's wife Catherine's Scottish maid, who was executed for the murder of her illegitimate child, the product of an affair with the Tsar Peter. Many scholars speculate that the two stories of Mary Hamilton and Mary Queen of Scots were fused into one.


See more Child Ballad variants from NFLD.

The video below features an excellent cover performance by Jesse Ferguson of Cornwall, Ontario, Fredericton, New Brunswick and Sydney, Nova Scotia on his homemade mountain dulcimer.

#829: YouTube video by BardofCornwall
©2012 ~ Used with permission ~


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