Oh, it happened one evening at the playing of ball
That I first met lovely Willie, so proper and tall.
He was neat, fair, and handsome, and straight in every limb;
There's a heart in this bosom lies breaking for him.
"And will you go with me a short piece of the road
For to view my father's dwelling and place of abode?"
Well, he knew by her look and her languishing eye
That he was the young man she valued most high.
"There's a house in my father's garden, lovely Willie," said she,
"Where lords, dukes, and earls they all wait upon me.
And when they are sleeping in their long silent rest
It's then I'll go with you; you're the boy I love best."
But her father'd been listening; in an ambush he lay
For to hear the fond words those true lovers did say.
And with a sharp rapier he pierced her love through
And the innocent blood of her Willie he drew.
The grave had been dug and lovely Willie laid in;
The mass it was chanted to cleanse his soul from sin.
And it's, "Oh, honoured father, you may speak as you will
But the innocent blood of my love you did spill.
"So I will go off to some foreign country
Where I shall know no one, and no knows me.
And it's there I will wander till I close my eyes in death
All for you, lovely Willie; you're the boy I love the best."
Roughly as recorded by Scartaglen on their self-titled album. Also
recorded by James Kelly, Paddy O'Brien, and Daithi Sproule on
"Traditional Music of Ireland." Originally Irish; assorted texts
are now known in America (see, e.g., "Lovely William" on page 417
of volume I of Randolph's "Ozark Folksongs"). Connected by some
with the ballad "Edwin in the Lowlands" ("Young Emily"). RW