Digital Tradition Mirror

American Woods

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American Woods

Come, all ye loyal lovers, I pray lend an ear
To a sad, dismal story, and soon you shall hear.
'T'is of a young couple that lived in the North
And upon the high mountain that stands by your fort.

The lady was the daughter of a rich gentleman
By the name of McFarlan, and of the same clan.
Young William was born in the Highlands Glen Isle
And by blood relation his cousin did style,

But when that their parents their tidings did hear
They acted a part that was cruel and severe.
A letter they sent down to Inverness
Which brought up a party young William to press.

And as for the pressing they gave no time we hear,
He asked but one blessing was a word with his dear,
Which caused that fair damsel to weep bitterly,
May the heavens forgive you for your cruelty.

With vows then they parted, and with words not a few,
A ring from her finger she instantly drew,
Which he was not to part with come death or come life
Until the happy moment he would make her his wife.

He marched for America, his orders being so.
He proved a loyal soldier, his valour did show,
And for his good conduct no one could he blame
Till at length from a corporal to a sergeant he came.

It was near Fort Niagara in the year 'sixty-nine,
To frequent the wild woods which he oft did incline,
To frequent the wild woods of some distant place,
To breathe in his favour his name to servate.

But among the savage Indians at length there he fell,
And how he was murdered we cannot well tell,
But early next morning he was found lying dead,
With five Indians lying by him for the want of their heads.

Was cut off by his broadsword as we understood,
And the place all around him was nothing but blood,
The finger from far off his hand it was cut,
On which was the ring from his true love he got.

And at this very moment in Scotland we hear
A most dreadful spectre to his love did appear,
And like a wild aspect he gazed in her face,
Saying , "Mary, dear Mary, do not me embrace.

"For I am but a spirit a-shining in blood,
While my body lies murdered in American woods.

"There's five wounds in my body and three in my side
From hatchets and arrows, they are both deep and wide
And my long yellow lock for a premium was sold
And also my finger with the pure ring of gold,

"Which you drew upon it as a token of love.
Love is powerfuller than death, for it does me remove.
Now my only desire is for you, my dear,
And until you are with me I will still wander here."

Early next morning to her father she run,
Saying, "Father, dear father, what have you done?
My true love young Willie appeared to me in blood
And his body lies murdered in American woods.

"He showed me his wounds and each bleeding sore
Therefore my joys on this earth are no more."
This beautiful damsel in one week expired,
I hope she enjoys all the love she desires.

DT #588
Laws M36
From Creighton, Songs and Ballads of Nova Scotia, no. 99
collected from Gordon Young of Devil's Island, NS

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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