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Riley's Courtship Was on a pleasant morning All in the bloom of spring When the cheerful songsters In concerts they did sing. The primrose and the daisy Bespangled every one, In an arbour I espied her, My fair colleen bawn. I stared awhile amazed, Perched up with surprise, On her with rapture gazed, While from her bright eyes She shot such killing glances My heart away was gone, She ravished all my senses, My fair colleen bawn. Politely I addrcssed her, "Hail, matchless fair maid, You have with grief oppressed me And I am much afraid. Unless you cure my anguish That now is in its dawn, You'll cause my sad overthrow, My fair colleen bawn." And with a gentle smile She replied unto me, "I cannot patronize Dear Willie over thee. "My father he is wealthy And gives severe command, If you'll but gain his favour I'll be your colleen bawn." In rapture I embraced her, We swore eternal love, And nought could separate us Except the powers above. I hired with her father And left my friends on land, That in pleasure I might gaze on My fair colleen bawn. I served in port twelve months Right faithfully and just, Although not used to labour Was true unto my trust. I valued not my wages And would not it demand, Oh, I could live for ages With my fair colleen bawn. One morning as her father And I walked out alone, I asked him for his daughter, Saying, "Sir, it is well known, "I have a well-stocked farm, 500 pounds in land, Which I'll share with your daughter My fair colleen bawn." Her father full of anger Most scornfully did frown, Saying, " Here are your wages, Now, sir, depart this town." Increasing still his anger He bid me quick begone, "Oh, none but a rich squire Shall wed my colleen bawn." I went unto his daughter And told her my sad tale, Oppressed with grief and anguish We both did weep and wail. She said, " My dearest Riley, The thought I can't withstand, That with sorrow you must leave Your dear colleen bawn." A horse I did get ready All in the silent night, Having no other remedy We quickly took our flight. The horse he chanced to stumble And threw us both along, Confused and sorely bruised me And my dear colleen bawn. Again we quickly mounted And swiftly rode away, O'er lofty hills and mountains We travelled night and day. Her father swift pursued us With his well-chosen band, And I was overtaken with My dear colleen bawn. Committed straight to prison There to lament and wail And utter my complaints to A dark and dismal jail, Loaded with heavy iron Till my trial does come on, But I'll bear the utmost malice For my dear colleen bawn. If it should please kind fortune Once more to set me free, For well I know my charmer Is constant unto me. In spite of her father's anger, His cruelty and scorn, I hope to win my heart's delight My fair colleen bawn. TRIAL "Come, rise up, Willie Riley, Now come away with me, I mean for to go with you And leave this counteree. "I'll forsake my father's dwelling, His houses and rich land, And go along with you, my dear, To a fair colleen bawn." O'er lofty hills and mountains Along the handsome dale, Through shady groves and mountains, Rich meadows and sweet vales, We climbed the rugged woods and Went over silent lawns, But I was overtaken with My dear colleen bawn. They hurried me to prison, My hands and feet they bound, Confincd me like a murderer With chains unto the ground. But this hard, cruel treatment Most cheerfully I'll stand, Ten thousand deaths I'll suffer for My dear colleen bawn. In came the jailor's son And to Riley he did say, "Rise up, unhappy Riley, You must appear to-day "Proud Squire Follard's anger And power to withstand, I 'm afraid you'll suffer sorely For your dear colleen bawn. "This is the news, young Riley, Last night I heard of you, The lady's oath will hang you Or else will set you free." "If that be so," said Riley, Some hope began to dawn, "Oh, I never can be injured By my dear colleen bawn." The lady she is sensible, And in her tender youth, If Riley has deluded her She will declare the truth. Then like a spotless angel Before them she did stand, "You are welcome here," says Riley, "My dear colleen bawn." About the noble Fox Who stood attentive by, "Gentlemen of the jury, In justice we reply, "To hang a man for love Is foul murder, you may see, Oh, spare the life of Riley, And banished let him be." "But stop, my lord, he stole her Bright jewels and nice ring, Gold watch and diamond buckle, And many costly things. "I gave them to my daughter, They cost me L 1000 When Riley was first taken These things with him were found." "Oh no, my lord, I gave them As a token of true love, He never stole my jewels, I swear by all above. "Oh, if you have them, Riley, Pray send them home to me." "I will, my honoured lady, With many thanks to thee." "There is one ring among them I wish for you to wear, It is set with costly diamonds And plaited with my hair. "In token of true friends Wear it on your right hand, Think on my broken heart, love, When in a foreign land." MARRIAGE, All tender-hearted lovers Attend unto my theme, The hardships of young Riley I mean now to explain. Who, for stealing of an heiress 'Fore the court did stand, Ordered for transportation Unto a foreign land. The daughter of Squire Follard This lady proved to be, Beautiful as an angel, And born of high degree. For her young Willie Riley Both night and day doth wail, Loaded with heavy irons Confined in Sligo jail. Like a poor malefactor Transported he must be, The lady cried, "Dear Riley, Your face I ne'er shall see. "My cruel-hearted father, Thou weren't the only one That banished Willie Riley From his poor colleen bawn." Her father in a passion Unto his daugllter said, "For your foul disobedience You shall be conveyed "Unto a lonesome chamber, To there repent the deed, Twelve months on bread and water You shall be forced to feed" Then unto a dark chamber His daughter he did bide, With nothing but coarse blankets And straw whereon to lie. She says, "My dearest Riley, 'Tis for my sake alone That you with grief and sorrow In Sligo jail doth mourn." Three nights this lonely lady In grief and sorrow spent, Till overcome with anquish She quite distracted went. She wrung her hands and tore her hair, Crying, "My only dear, My cruel-hearted father Hath used you most severe." Unto a private madhouse They hurried her away, Where she was heard each morning For to weep and pray Her chains loud she'd rattle, And then would cry and rave, "For me poor Willie Riley Is treated like a slave. "Alas, dear Billy Riley, If I could once more see, But for my father's anger I'd try to set you free. "I could hold you in my arms, From you I'd never part, For though I'm here confined, Young Riley has my heart." Now we will leave this fair one In sorrow for awhile, And speak of Willie Riley Confined in Sligo jail. Who with twenty other criminals To Dublin marched away, Who went on board a transport, And straight to Botany Bay. When in Dublin they arrived They were conveyed to jail, Until the transport ship Was ready for to sail. Then Riley cried, " Squire Follard, You cruel-hearted man, In Bedlam lies your daughter My dear colleen bawn." But fortune to poor Riley Happened to prove kind, While he lay in Ireland, A thought came in his mind. A petition from the prison Unto the parson sent, Unto the Lord Lieutenant Whose heart it did relent. The noble Lord Lieutenant Unto the prison haste, And here young Willie Riley He speedily released. With him unto Bedlam Straightway he went anon Likewise released his jewel, His fair colleen bawn. As soon as the lady Did her true love behold, She in her snowy arms Young Riley did enfold Her senses soon revived; They for the parson sent, Who married this young couple Unto their heart's content. A license from the Primate Was got immediately, And constant William Riley Was mated to his lady. A feast was then prepared Which lasted four days long, Success attend young Riley And his young colleen bawn. Soon as the old man heard it His old heart did relent, He cried, "For my offences I sorely do repent, "But now you shall live happy With me in Sligo town, A fortune I will give thee Of 30,000 pounds. As it is God's will I leave no child but thee, I beg it as a blessing That you will live with me. "And at my death you shall possess My horses and rich land, My blessings on you, Riley, And our dear colleen bawn." Laws M10 DT #577 From Creighton, Songs and Ballads of Nova Scotia, no.74 collected from Ben Henneberry of Devil's Island, NS SOF oct96
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!