The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #73380   Message #2869491
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
22-Mar-10 - 04:26 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req/Add: Nellie Cropsy / Nell Cropsey
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Nellie Cropsy / Nell Cropsey
Phillips Barry had this to say about Fair Florella and the group of songs in which the victim's name is Pearl Bryan:

"Though long supposed to have originated in America, "Fair Florella" is based on an old-country original, a sordid tale of seduction, murder and punishment, bearing the title "Murder of Betsy Smith," published in the erly part of the nineteenth century, by J. Livsey, Manchester, England.
The stanzas from "The Murder of Betsy Smith," which have entered into the composition of "Fair Florella," are as follows:"

I only have the JSTOR first page, from American Speech, vol. III, No. 6, August 1928, pp. 441-447. It shows the first four stanzas.
[ The Murder of Betsy Smith]
On the nineteenth day of August, this young man did repair
Unto the town of Manchester, to meet his Betsy there:
Says "Betsy dear, come, let us walk, down in the flowery grove,
And there the secret of my heart, to you I will disclose."
But, O, this wicked young man, a knife he did provide,
And all unknown to his true love, concealed it by his side:
When to the fatal spot they came, he thus to her did say;
"All on this night, within this grove, I will your life betray."
On bended knees she then did fall, in sorrow and dispair:
And loud for mercy she did call: her cries did rend the air:
With clasped hands and uplift eyes, she cried, "O spare my life,
And I never will ask of you to make me your wedded wife."
O then this wicked young man said, "No mercy will I show,"
Then took the knife all from his side, and pierced her body thro'.
But she still smiling said to him, though trembling with fear,
"Oh, Thomas, Thomas, spare my life! think of your baby dear."