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Origins: Down by the riverside - Roud 25802

13 Jun 18 - 06:48 AM (#3930638)
Subject: Origins: Down by the riverside
From: GUEST,ITMA

I'm looking for any information on the origins of a song that was collected in St. Bride's, Newfoundland during the 1970s. The singer, Mrs. Minnie Murphy, calls the song "Down by the Riverside". Another version of the same song was collected by MacEdward Leach, also in Newfoundland (available at https://www.mun.ca/folklore/leach/songs/NFLD2/9A-01_51.htm). Any information about the origins of this song would be greatly appreciated. The full text is as follows:

DOWN BY THE RIVERSIDE
(singer: Mrs. Minnie Murphy)
(Collected by [date and location])


When I was young and in my prime my age scarce twenty-one,
I fell in love with a pretty young girl, she had my heart near won;
My own I loved her dearly, she was my only pride,
Now she lives home with her parents dear, down by the riverside.

The very first time I saw my love it pierced me through the heart,
With her right hand she placed in mine, I thought we would never part;
And turning my back around to her, heartbroken I was drove,
Saying, ‘What is the good of my gold to me when I haven’t the girl I love?’

I murdered my wife on a moonlight night on the twenty-third of June,
Soon I was taken to Wexford Gaol to meet my coming doom;
The judge he passed my sentence, sure that’s where my case was tried,
Saying, ‘Tomorrow by night, sure you must hang down by the riverside.’

It being on the very next morning as I lay in my cell,
I thought on my parents who were so cruel, would not let me choose my own mind,
I thought on my parents who were so cruel, would not let me choose my own bride,
They would rather see me bend the tree, down by the riverside.

So come on all folks take warning don’t ever try to part,
The one that you love dearly, don’t turn her from your heart;
For if she is poor or happy on shore and dearly love the bride,
Don’t ever stand to see him hanged, down by the riverside.


13 Jun 18 - 07:19 AM (#3930643)
Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the riverside
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)

The Roud index lists 7 versions, mostly from Newfoundland but one from Quebec. Interestingly the version you give is not among them! Roud 25802 - Down By The Riverside. The earliest is the one in from the MacEdward Leach collection, collected from John James 1950/51. The others were mostly collected in the 70s, and mostly audio at Memorial University Folklore Archive (MUNFLA) (St. John's, Newfoundland). You might contact them to see if they have any background on the song.

Mick


13 Jun 18 - 10:26 AM (#3930681)
Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the riverside
From: GUEST,ITMA

Many thanks, Mick, for the very quick and very informative response! Rebecca


13 Jun 18 - 07:41 PM (#3930754)
Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the riverside - SOURCE????
From: Joe Offer

Hi, ITMA - what's the source for the version you posted? Who collected it, and where did you find it? -Joe-


Here is the version collected by MacEdward Leach, cited in the first post: https://www.mun.ca/folklore/leach/songs/NFLD2/9A-01_51.htm

DOWN BY THE RIVERSIDE
(Singer: John James, Trepassey; collected by MacEdward Leach)

When l was young and in my prime like many's the young man too
l fell in love wit' a fair pretty maid who had my heart quite won
And it was most dearly she loved me and that l never denied
And to disown my parents down by the riverside

A rich lady that lived nearby was choosed for my bride
And to forsake my Annie dear down by the riverside
And sooner to see their angry looks upon me with a frown
Quite contented l married her just for to please their mind

The last(?) time l saw my love she grieved me to the heart
And her right hand she placed in mine l thought we never would part
I quickly turned my back to her quite broken-hearted first
Sayin' what is the use of my gold to me when l haven' t the girl l love

I murdered my wife on a moonlight night in the twenty-fourth of June
Then l was taken to a short jail for to wait for my coming doom
The judge he passed my sentence just after my case had been won
Saying tomorrow morning you must hang down by the riverside

Come all old folks take warning a warning take by me
The one your child love dearly don't ever try to part
The one your child love dearly don't drive them from your heart
For if she's poor she’s happy I’m sure and willing to be your bride
Don't let them see you hang like me down by the riverside

One evening as l was sitting a sitting all alone
I t'ought on my aged parents they bein' so cruel to me
I t'ought on my aged parents so cruel to choose for me a bride
And now they see my bending tree down by the riverside

Come all young folks take warning a warning take by me
Don't ever slight your first true love no matter who she may be
For if she's poor she's happy I’m sure and willing to be your bride
Don't let them see you hang like me down by the riverside


14 Jun 18 - 05:26 AM (#3930800)
Subject: RE: Origins: Down by the riverside - SOURCE????
From: GUEST

Hi Joe, The version I posted was collected by Aidan O'Hara from Minnie Murphy in St. Bride's, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, on 1 May 1976. The recording is held in the Irish Traditional Music Archive as part of the Aidan O'Hara Collection (http://itmacatalogues.ie//Default/en-GB/RecordView/Index/54059). We'll be making this recording available as part of an online exhibition about Aidan's recordings later this summer. I'll share the link once it goes live.
Rebecca