The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #141964   Message #3296773
Posted By: Brian Peters
26-Jan-12 - 02:36 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Demon Lover in New England?
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Demon Lover in New England?
Here I am, back at last, John - having just submitted my Tax Return with five days to spare!

Having read the above reference to an Irish tradition for this ballad, I thought you might be interested to see the text of the one Irish version that I know of. I don't have time to go into a comparison now, but will try later. 'The Banks of Sweet Viledee' appears on a cassette called 'Early Ballads in Ireland', sung in 1983 by one Frank Browne, from Ballingare, Co. Roscommon, who appears to have been a song collector rather than a source singer - I hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong on that score. Cathy Jordan of Dervish learnt it directly from Mr. Browne, and if you want to get some idea of the tune, here are Dervish taking more than a few liberties with it. In Browne's rendition I can hear echoes of the magnificent tune that the Hammond brothers found with the fragmentary English version they noted from Marina Russell in the 1900s. It's closer to that than to the usual American tune, anyway.

THE BANKS OF THE SWEET VILEDEE

Well met, well met, my own true love
Well met, my love, by thee
I have just arrived from the salt, salt sea
And it's all for the love of thee, my love
And it's all for the love of thee

Now I could have married a great king's daughter
And have myself to blame
For it's tons of gold I have refused
And it's all for the love of thee, my love
All for the love of thee

Now if you could have married a great king's daughter
And have yourself to blame
I have married a house-carpenter
And I think he's a nice young man, my love
And I think he's a nice young man

If you do leave you house-carpenter
And come along with me
I'll take you to where the grass grows green
On the banks of the Sweet Viledee, my love
On the banks of the Sweet Viledee

If I do leave my house-carpenter
And go along with thee
What have you there to support me with
Or keep me from slavery, my love?
Or keep me from slavery?


I have six ships now sailing out
And seven more on sea
Three hundred and ten all jolly sailsmen
And they're all to wait on thee, my love
And they're all for to wait on thee

She dressed her baby neat and clean
And gave him kisses three
Saying, "Stay, stay here, my darling baby boy
And your father as company, my love
And your father as company"

She dressed herself in a suit of red
And her maiden's waist was green
And every town that they passed by
Sure, they took her to be some queen, my love
They took her to be some queen

We were not two days out at sea
And I'm sure we were not three
When this fair maid began to weep
And she wept most bitterly, my love
And she wept most bitterly

My curse, my curse, upon all seamen
Who brought me out on sea
And deprived me of my house-carpenter
On the banks of the Sweet Viledee, my love
On the banks of the Sweet Viledee

We were butt three days out on sea
And I'm sure we were not four
When this fair maid disappeared from the deck
And she sank to rise no more, my love
And she sank to rise no more