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Brewster: Ballads and Songs of Indiana 215
39 GEORGE REILLY
One variant of this song has been found in Indiana, under the title "George Riley.'' For texts in songsters and broadsides, see Cox, headnote, p. 323.
For American texts, see Campbell and Sharp, II, p. 22; Wyman and Brockway, p. 37; Cambiaire, East Tennessee and Western Virginia Mountain Ballads, p. 95.
"George Riley." Contributed by Mrs. G. W. Smith, of Oakland City, Indiana. Gibson County. Learned in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, from the singing of her mother, Mrs. Louisa Sponsler. June 10,1935.
1. On a bright summer morning, the weather being fair, I strolled for a season down by the river clear, Where I overheard a damsel most grievously complain All for an absent lover who plowed the distant main.
2. While she was thus lamenting and mourning for her dear, I saw a bold young sailor; he unto her drew near.
With eloquence most surprising, he address the affair,1 Saying, "Fair and pretty maiden, and why do you mourn here?"
3. "All for an absent lover/' the maiden did reply, "Which causes me to wander, for to lament and cry.
It's three long years and better his absence I have mourned; Although the war has ended, he has not yet returned."
4. Then said this gallant sailor, "What was your true-love's
name? Both that and his description, I wish to know the same; For 't is really most surprising that he was so unkind As to leave so fair a maiden in agony behind."
5. "George Riley I call him, a lad both neat and trim,
So manly in deportment but few could excel him;
His amber locks in ringlets, his sturdy shoulders spare,
And then his skin doth far exceed the fragrant lily fair."
1 For he thm addressed the fair ?