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James MacDonald

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James MacDonald

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James MacDonald

'Twas late one Sunday evening
As you can plainly see.
I sent for my love, Anna dear,
She quickly came to me.
I said,"My Anne, if you'll consent
Along with me to go,
It is off we'll go to be married.
I'm sure there'll no one know."

So off with speed they started
Across the counteree.
It will bring tears all in your eyes
These words to her he did say,
"It's Anna, you're going no farther
For here you are going to die."*

"O James, put off those dreadful words,
It gives me such a fright
And don't commit a murder
On this dark and dismal night.
I'll promise God upon my knees,
If you but spare my life,
I never will come to bother you
Or even to be your wife."

But for all that she could do or say
I struck her with my sword
And with my heavy loaded whip
I laid her in her gore.
Her blood and brains gushed out like rain
Her cries they pierced my heart.
I thought that I had murdered her
Before I did depart.

'Twas early in next morning
Just at the break of day,
The shepherd's only daughter,
By chance she came that way.
She saw her lying in her gore
And came to her relief,
By saying, "My fairest damsel,
Shall I send for a police? "

A policeman then was sent for.
A doctor, too, likewise,
And when they all surrounded her
They came up in disguise;
And when they all surrounded her
She put them on my trail,
And a prisoner I was taken,
Locked up in St. Albans jail.

'Twas there I lay a-waiting
All for my trial day
And when my sentence was pronounced
The judge to me did say,
"For murdering of an orphan girl
As we can plainly see
On the 21st day of next August
You shall hang on the gallows tree."

My name is Jack MacDonald
This life and I must part
For murdering of my Anna dear,
I'm sorry to my heart.
I hope that God has pardoned me
All on my trial's day
And on my day of execution,
Good Christians, for me pray.

From The New Green Mountain Songster, Flanders et al.
Collected from Elmer George, VT .
Note: Originally an Irish Street Ballad.
DT #515
Laws P38
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