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Murder of Maria Martin or: Confession and Execution of William Corder The Murderer of Maria Marten If you'll meet me at the Red Barn As sure as I have life I will take you to Ipswich town And there make you my wife This lad went home and fetched his gun His pickaxe and his spade He went unto the Red Barn And there he dug her grave Come all you thoughtless young men A warning take by me To think upon my unhappy fate To be hanged upon a tree My name is William Corder To you I do declare I courted Maria Marten Both beautiful and fair I promised I would marry her Upon a certain day Instead of that I was resolved To take her life away I went unto her father's house The eighteenth day of May And said my dear Maria We will fix a wedding day With her heart so light she thought no harm To meet me she did go I murdered her all in the barn And laid her body down After my horrid deed was done She laid there in her gore Her bleeding mangled body Lay beneath the Red Barn floor Now all things being silent Her spirit could not rest She appeared upon her mother Consult her at her breast For many a long months or more Her mind was sore depressed No more at night nor at day Could she take any rest Her mother's mind being sore disturbed She dreamed a dream she saw Her daughter she lay murdered Beneath the Red Barn floor She sent the father to the Barn Where he the ground did thrust And there he found his daughter Lay mingling with the dust My trial was hard, I could not stand Most horrorful was the sight When her dear bones was brought to prove Which pierced my heart wide Her ancient father standing by Likewise his loving wife And in her grief her hair she tore She scarcely could be tide Adieu adieu, my loving friends, My glass is almost run On monday next will be my last When I am to be hung So all young men who do pass With pity look on me For murdering of that young girl I was hung upon a tree ------------------------------------------------------------------------- recorded by Shirley Collins & The Albion Country Band on "No Roses" (1971) This murder ballad was first printed on a broadside by James Catnach in 1828 and he sold 1116000 copies. Above are all 16 verses of the broadside as recorded by Collins, but I'm not sure about the order, because the third verse seems to be the introductory verse. Only three of the verses passed into oral tradition (verses 1, 2 and 7) and were collected from Joseph Taylor of Lincolnshire in 1908. He sung them to the tune of "Dives And Lazarus", one of the great English tunes. The same tune is used for "Come All Ye Faithful Christians", "Brigg Fair" and most famously for "Star Of The County Down". Collins claims to use this tune too, but I can't hear that. This street ballad is remarkably similar to the American ballads "Pretty Polly" and "Omie Wise". MJ
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!