MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Wexford Girl
Patrick Power NFLD 1 Tape 8A Track 6
Cape Broyle Audio:
Ballad / murder Laws P5

Carey, Carey, it is my name Wexford I was born,
I done a deed as you may read through pride and public scorn,
I done a deed as you may read and for it now must die,
My father's blood to the heavens now for vengeance loud do cry.

I courted a girl who lived nearby I courted her as you may hear,
I oftentimes robbed my father's house and spent it on my dear,
A good advice they give to me for this cruel deed I've done,
In trying to gain my father's farm I was his eldest son.

On the fourth day of October I watched him coming home,
Not thinking on a danger as he walked all alone,
When like some hungry wolf or lion I sprang upon my prey,
Twas with a fork I stabbed him and took his life away.

Full fifteen blows I gave to him as he lay in his gore,
The dreadful pain and agony its lust I now deplore,
The devil's trace stood by my side for the cruel deed I've done
My father's blood fork the heavens now for vengeance loud do cry.

The fork that did this cruel deed as you will understand,
Both fork and handle I did wash and I scoured I well with sand,
My mother found it in the barn quite late the next day,
Here I had stowed it safe in a heap of straw and hay.

Then I was taken prisoner and then to prison camp,
Twas there I lay lamenting till the sentence on me passed,
The jury found me guilty the judge to me did say,
On the fourteenth day of April next will be your dying day.

So good-bye honourable mother your loss I now deplore,
To see your aged husband a bleeding in his glare,
To see the son you once loved dear must die on public scorn,
May God help my poor broken heart I wish I was never barn.

My time is come my glass is run I am prepared to die,
Hoping to gain pardon from him who reigns on high,
And all you foolish young men a warning take by me,
Beware of Satan's promises and think on my sad state,


Sources: Mercer 193 and 126 ("Gold Watch and Chain"); Laws ; Greenleaf 11968: 119; Peacock 634; Creighton (1971) 194; Brewster 204; Cox 311; Mackenzie 293; Morris 336; Roud 263.

History: Traced to English broadsides of the early 19 th century and possibly derived from the 18 th -century broadside of "The Berkshire Tragedy" or "the Wittam Miller" (Creighton 1971: 195 and Peacock 640).

Text notes: The narrative varies substantially in relation both to the Aylward version on this site and to the one published in Peacock's anthology. This is a murder ballad recounted by the murderer who is about to die for his crime.

Tune notes: Creighton notes that she heard this grim song performed as a lullaby in Nova Scotia. Peacock says it is a version of the Irish murder ballad, "The Worcester Tragedy." Power's tune is similar to that published by Peacock, but Aylward's is distinctly different, in triple metre,   but heterometric in places, with musical accents on unaccented syllables.

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