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John Riley

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John Riley

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John Riley

As I went out one morning early,
To breathe the sweet and pleasant air,
Who should I spy but a fair young maiden;
She seemed to me like a lily fair.

I stepped to her add kindly asked her,
"Would you like to be a bold sailor's wife?"
"Oh no kind sir," she quickly answered,
"I choose to lead a sweet single life."

"What makes you different from other women?
What makes you different from other kind?
For you are young, sweet, beautiful and handsome,
And for to marry you, I might incline."

"It's now kind sir that I must tell you.
I might have been married three years ago
To one John Riley who left this country.
He's been the cause of my overthrow."

"He courted me both late and early.
He courted me both night and day.
And when he had once my affections gained,
He left me here and he went away."

"Oh never mind for this Johnny Riley,
Oh come with me to the distant shore.
Why, we'll sail o'er to Pennsylvany,
And bid adieu to Riley forever more."

"I shan't go with you to Pennsylvany,
Or go with you to the distant shore.
My heart is with Riley, my long lost lover
Although I'll never see him no more."

Oh, when he saw that her love was loyal,
He gave her kisses one, two, and three,
Saying, "I'm the man you once called Johnny Riley,
Saying "I'm the cause of your misery."

"I've sailed the ocean, gained great promotion,
I've laid my money on the English shore,
And now we'll marry, no longer tarry,
And I shall never deceive you any more."

sung by Pete Seeger

DT #462
Laws N42
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III