Digital Tradition Mirror

Meagher's Children

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Meagher's Children

Good people read these verses which I have written here,
And if you can peruse them you can't help but shed a tear,
'Twas eighteen hundred and forty two on April the eleventh day,
Two little girls from Preston Road in to the woods did stray.

Their father and their mother both sick in bed did lay,
While these two little young girls around the door did play,
Was hand in hand together they saw them leave the door,
The oldest one was six years old and the youngest only four.

Jane Elizabeth and Margaret Meagher was their true and pretty names
Yet two handsomest little young girls in faith was ever seen
Was Elizabeth and Margaret Meagher, how sweetlie they did play
But mark what followed after, how soon they lost their way.

Here in this lonelie wilderness they spent a dismal day
When night came on they thought of home, their streaming eyes gave way
The frosty wind blew very cold, not a star to yield them light
But the beasts of prey they feared all day and the screeches of owls at night.

They might have been discovered for that simple way,
You Preston negroes wash your hands and wipe out your disgrace,
You cruel Brown that heard them cry and would not take them in,
May the Lord reward and punish you according to your sin.

It was early next morning turned out one hundred men,
And there they spied Meagher and his wife a-searching the dreary plains
First casting their eyes to heaven and then upon the ground,
With prayers and groans and dying cries distracted as they roam.

Was all that week they hunted, at last was all in vain,
Here in this lonelie wilderness those infants still remain,
Ofttimes they stopped to listen but never could hear a sound,
On Thursday about twelve o'clock a bloody rag was found.

Now gentle readers what a sight we have now to behold,
A-dying in the wilderness for hunger, fright, and cold,
Not a mother nigh to close an eye, not a friend for to wipe a tear,
How true it is, as Burns remarked, that men were made to mourn.

No more will we leave them here for the birds and the beasts to tear
On decent burn they laid them and for them shed a tear,
To the father's house they carried them for the mother to behold
She kissed them both a thousand times when they were dead and cold.

Their father had distracted run and overcome with grief,
His neighbours tried to comfort him but could find no relief,
The cries of their dear mother was dismal for to hear,
To think death it had on her frowned, took those she loved so dear.

The rain was fast a-falling and dismal was the day.
When gazing on to Elizabeth I think I've heard her say,
"Fare you well, my loveling neighbours, I pray dry up your tears,
Let us do lay in this cold cold clay till God Himself repairs.  (appears)

It was early the next morning was in one coffin lay,
'Tween Allan's vale and Allan's farm their two little graves were made
And thousands had resembled (assembled) their last farewell to take,
Both rich and poor lamented so for those poor children's sake.

Five pounds reward was offered to the man that did them find,
But Curry he refused it like a Christian just and kind,
May the God forever bless you and grant you length of day,
May your humble portion your deeds have done, may he ever sing your praise.

Ye gentle folk from Halifax who did turn out so kind,
I hope in heaven hereafter a full reward you'll find,
Not forgetting those of Dartmouth who turned out rich and poor,
And likewise those from Preston Road and around the eastern shore.

Now for to close and make an end of this my mournful song,
I pray you to excuse me of writing it so long,
I hope in times hereafter we never more shall behold,
It is the first, I hope the last, God grant it so, amen.

From Maritime Folk Songs, Creighton
Collected from Nathan Hatt, Nova Scotia, 1952
DT #347
Laws G25

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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