Dark British Foes
The dark British foes was invading our soil
And pressing our young men in slavery and war.
Young Edwin he bade his fair Mary adieu,
And they said when they parted their love would prove true.
Then this young warrior undaunted and brave,
Put on his tarpolian to fight on the waves,
To fight on the deep waters where the loud cannons roar,
To fight for his country and his dear native shore.
He had not been gone more than weeks two or three
When Mary no tidings from Edwin could hear.
She asked of each breeze as they blew gently by
If they'd brought her no tidings from her sailor boy.
To add to her misfortunes, her parents both died,
Which left her abandoned on life's flowing tide.
It seemed her misfortune that caused her to roam
From the scenes of her childhood, her juvenile home.
He had not been gone more than years two or three
Until the war ended and peace smiled again.
He landed at Hudson on the banks of the stream
Where the banks were all covered and clothed in green.
The thoughts of his Mary still ran in his mind.
He says, I will go and my Mary will find.
He sought her with love, oh, he sought her with care,
For it's long had she wandered and no one knew where.
One evening on the banks as he strayed
Where the wild songsters sang and their notes were displayed,
The sun was declining and the evening drew near,
When the voice of his Mary enchanted his ear.
He saw her declining from the shade of a tree,
Where the wild branches wove at the sigh of the breeze.
Her cheeks were growing pale, she was fairer than the sun
And those were the accents that fell from her tongue.
"Oh pity, kind heavens, and soothe my sad state,
And why was I doomed from my Edwin to part?
Oftimes in the shadow of yonder tall pine
Have I smoothed down his hair with those fingers of mine."
"Perhaps he is drowned in some ocean dark wave
Where thousands have met with their watery graves;
Perhaps he has died in some far distant land
Where his death-bed is soothed with no true lover's hand."
"l wish he was entombed in some graveyard near home;
This moment it's I to his grave I would roam.
With the finest of laurels l'd entwine round his bier,
And l'd moisten his grave with an affectionate tear."
Young Edwin no longer his feelings could contain.
He rushed from the ambush, he seized her fair hand.
"O Mary, dear Mary, the joys of my heart,
Through life until death nevermore shall we part."
From Folk Songs out of Wisconsin, Peters
Collected from Fred Bainter, Ladysmith, WI
Note: Apparantly refers to the War of 1812