Black Water Side
On a bright summer's morning as I went a-walking
Viewing the streams that gently did flow,
As the bright sun arose, the hills did adorn
Surrounding the banks of the Black Water Side.
Says he, "My dearest jewel, it's long we have courted,
We're both fit for marriage, I solemnly vow,
And if you're inclined in wedlock to join,
Either `Yes' or `No' you must answer me now."
She says, "I'm oppressed and quite in distress.
I'm quite unprepared to answer you now.
My fortune is low, as you very well know,
And to be your bride, you know I'm not fit.
I had some friends went to America
And with my old mother, I mean to reside.
I'll here take my lot in this low little cot
On the lovely sweet banks of the Black Water Side."
"Well, if you do, you may happen to rue.
I've another in view that won't me deny.
To labor in vain, I'll not ask again
I'm not set on coaxing, as you may rely.
I gave you the proffer. Accept as the offer
In wee bans of wedlock, we soon would be tied.
You know I adore you and praise none before you,
You blooming sweet maid of the Black Water Side.
"At the age of sixteen, if she's handsome and clean
As for her fortune, I'm sure I don't care;
As for her clothing, it never will grieve me.
With you I'd range this world so wide.
You're the maid I admire, so grant my desire,
It's you I require from the Black Water Side."
This maid she arose. To her mother she goes
Telling the story as plain as you see.
She got her consent and away they both went.
They were joined in Wedlock's sweet unity.
Their health did increase and troubles grew less.
In peace and in happiness they both do reside.
The truth I am telling. You will find their dwelling
On the lovely sweet banks of the Black Water Side.
From Ballads Migrant in New England, Flanders
Collected from James Shephard, Baltimore VT 1933