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Entries Related To: murder

Donald Monroe

Albert Roche

Donald Monroe / Albert Roche

Donald Monroe, song (Come all ye good men that's inclined for to roam, to seek for employment …) A variant of the 18th-century Scottish broadside, “Donald Munro,” this murder ballad tells the tale of a man who immigrates to America, leaving his sons behind as he cannot afford their fares. They follow in search of their father seven years later. They are attacked by highwaymen and killed. As they lay dying, their murderer realises that he has killed his two sons.  This song was widely sung in Newfoundland and several versions collected there, with the result that it exists with a number of different melodies and configurations of lyrics. Kenneth Peacock published three different versions in his Songs of the Newfoundland Outports 3 (1965:812–16). MacEdward Leach also recorded several versions.

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Down by the riverside

Minnie Murphy

Down by the riverside / Minnie Murphy

Down by the riverside, song (When I was young and in my prime my age scarce twenty-one …) This song tells the tale of a man whose parents force him to marry a woman of higher social status, forsaking the woman he loves. He later murders his wife because he cannot live with his choice. He is sentenced to hang for his crimes.  After Minnie Murphy finished her performance, one of the men present in the room comments that he sometimes heard this song in the lumber camps of western Newfoundland. Little is known about the origins of the song, though the reference to Wexford Gaol suggests a possible southeast Ireland connection. Variants, including that collected by MacEdward Leach from John James of Trepassey, Newfoundland, have been recorded almost exclusively in Newfoundland.

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In Yorkshire city

Bride Judge

In Yorkshire city / Bride Judge

In Yorkshire city, song (Oh, in Yorkshire city there dwelled a maiden …) This murder ballad tells the tale of a woman who falls in love with her father’s servant. He poisons her when she declines his proposal, and then, stricken by remorse, he kills himself. The song exists in many variant versions of the lyrics; it is also known as “Oxford city,” “The cup of poison,” “The jealous lover,” or, simply, “Jealousy.”  The melody given here is used also for other songs performed by Cape Shore singers.

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India's burning shore

Tom Murphy & Minnie Murphy

India's burning shore / Tom Murphy & Minnie Murphy

India's burning shore, song (As I strayed beneath those lofty pines on India’s burning shore …) Also known as the “Irish Patriot,” this song tells the story of a man whose wife and child are killed when he refuses to fight for his landlord’s rebel army. He takes revenge by killing his landlord and thereafter must forever live in exile, though he dreams of returning to Ireland to be buried beside his wife.  The origins of this song are unknown; Robert B Waltz and David G Engle note that it is found predominantly along North America’s eastern seaboard. The song seems to have had some popularity in lumbering camps during the early 20th century.

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Patrick Reilly

Emma Doyle

Patrick Reilly / Emma Doyle

Patrick Reilly, song (My name is Patrick Reilly and the truth I will make known …) This ballad relates the story of a certain Patrick Reilly, who plans to emigrate to America to seek his fortune. His sweetheart asks him not to leave, and then accuses him of attempted murder when he persists in his intent. Reilly is charged and sentenced to die. He never sees America.  Variants of this song exist throughout Newfoundland. For example, a version was published by Kenneth Peacock in Songs of the Newfoundland Outports 1 (1965:159–160). Another variant was collected by MacEdward Leach.

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The dewy dells of Yarrow

John Joe English

The dewy dells of Yarrow / John Joe English

The dewy dells of Yarrow, song (There was a man lived in this town …) This song is a variant of the border ballad, “The Dowie Dens of Yarrow.” It tells the story of a fight between a poor ploughman and nine brothers.  John Joe English learned it from a man who used to stop by the fish stores where he worked. 

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The fair Fanny Moore

Patsy Judge

The fair Fanny Moore / Patsy Judge

The fair Fanny Moore, song (Yonder stands a cottage all deserted and alone...) This murder ballad most likely has its origins in the Irish or English broadside presses, though it is much more commonly heard in North American contexts. Newfoundland song scholar Anna Kearney Guigné speculates that the song gained “new life in the New World through its dissemination by way of oral tradition in such contexts as the lumber camps alongside such media as print and recordings” (2016:122).  In other versions of this song, the wealthy suitor is named Randal and Fanny’s true love (a poor shepherd) is named Henry. In Patsy’s version of the song, the names are used interchangeably; it seems probable that this was simply a memory slip.

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The lady in the east

Bride Judge

The lady in the east / Bride Judge

The lady in the east, song (There was a lady in the east …) This broadside ballad tells a tale of murder and heartbreak. A young woman falls in love with her father’s clerk; she persists with the romance despite her father’s objections. Her father then shoots her and her lover commits suicide. In Songs of the Newfoundland Outports 3, Kenneth Peacock observes that this ballad seems to have survived mainly in Atlantic Canada (1965:726–8).

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Transcript of '[Down by the riverside]' as sung by Minnie Murphy / Aidan O'Hara

Down by the riverside, song (When I was young and in my prime my age scarce twenty-one ...) A typed transcript based on Aidan O'Hara's field recording, with annotations and corrections by the collector.

Transcript of '[The dewy dells of Yarrow]' as sung by John Joe English / Aidan O'Hara

The dewy dells of Yarrow (There was a man lived in the town …) A typed transcript based on Aidan O'Hara's field recording, with annotations and corrections by the collector.

Transcript of 'Donald Munroe' [Donald Monroe] as sung by Albert Roche / Aidan O'Hara

Donald Monroe, song (Come all ye good men that's inclined for to roam …) A typed transcript based on Aidan O'Hara's field recording, with annotations and corrections by the collector.

Transcript of 'India's burning shore' as sung by Tom Murphy & Minnie Murphy / Aidan O'Hara

India's burning shore, song (As I strayed beneath those lofty pines on India’s burning shore …) A typed transcript based on Aidan O'Hara's field recording, with annotations and corrections by the collector.