Ballads & Songs of Southern Michigan-songbook

A Collection of 200+ traditional songs & variations with commentaries including Lyrics & Sheet music

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes



Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
ii4         Ballads and Songs of Michigan
36
JOHNNY AND BETSY
For a similar text see Rollins, VII, 136-138: "Love Overthrown. The Young Man's Misery; And the Maids Ruine; Being a true Relation, How a beautiful Herefordshire Damsel... was, by her Mistress, sold to Virginia; And of the great Lamentation her Disconsolate Lover makes for her." The ballad con­cerns "Betty" and her lover. For a ballad which seems to be a sequel to the story in the song "Love Overthrown," mainly concerned with the lover's lament, see Rollins, IV, 37-40. Rollins notes that many cases of "spiriting" young men or women to the American colonies against their wills are known: "On May 23, 1682, in the course of a trial at London it was proved . . . that 'there was in generall such a trade as kidnapping or spiriting away children,' and witnesses testified that 'there had been above five hundred sent away in two years at Christmas last.' " For other texts of this song sec Eddy, No. 202; William Wells Newell, "Early American Ballads," ]AFL, XII, 245-246; Pound, No. 26; and Sharp, II, 4.
The present version was sung in 1935 by Mrs. Michael Byrne, Parnell, near Cannonsburg.
Twas o£ a maiden you shall hear, She lived down in a village near. A servant maid although she be, She was fitting for some higher degree.
Her mistress had but one only son. It was not in love that they first begun; But Betsy's beauty it shined so clear, It drew his heart fast in a sneer.
He says to Betsy, "I love you well, I love you as dear as I love my life, And I do intend to make you my wife."







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III