MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Galway Town
Pat Critch NFLD 2 Tape 11 Track 9
Flatrock Audio:

(Recited, then verse sung)

My mother she's a widow and I liked it where she lived
Near the town of Sligo she kept her flour mills
She reared me up most tenderly a surgeon for to be
But little did she ever think transported l would be

She sent me out one evening my friends for to go see
I met with an honourable lady she fell in love with me
Her fortune was ten thousand pounds in ready money down
Besides estate was willed to her one side o' Galway town

The very next day as I came home this fair maid wrote to me
Johnny lovely Johnny l am in love with thee
If you will agree and come with me it's married we will be
Our friends and parents won' t find it out we will go to Amerikay

I wrote her back an answer and this to her did say
I says honourable lady I am no match for thee
Some great lord or nobleman or a man with a high degree
For if your parents would find out transported I would be

She wrote me back an answer and this to me did say
Oh Johnny lovely Johnny I am deep in love with thee
If you don't agree on marrying me my life l will destroy
My ghostess will torment you until the day you die

I got in dread o' what she said wit' her I did agree
Wit' her I gave my whole consent all for to run away
Her ol' father followed after us and that without delay
He marched me back a prisoner and lodged me in Sligo jail

‘Twas there I lay in Sligo jail disturbed wit' a troubled mind
Her old father to swear against me I knew he felt inclined
He said good Judge and juries no man can set him free
Come my great lord he robbed my house and stole my child away

My sentenced passed I was condemned _______ my sentence
My trial went on, my sentence passed I was condemned to die
This honourable lady she came down most bitterly did cry
She says good judge and juries from death do set him free
I loved him to destruction [sic], which was his destiny

And out of prison I was set now thank God I am free
In spite of her old father I gained my liberty
ln spite of her old father in wedlock bands were bound
And living on her old estate one side of Galway town


Sources: Belden, 289 (William Riley); Bodleian 2806 b.11 (51) (Riley and Colinband, by R. Batchelar of London); Brewster, 50 (William Reilly); BrownII, 128 (William Riely); Cox, 336 (Willie Reilly); Greenleaf, 185,187 (Willy Reilly, Mary Neal) Laws M10 (William (Willie) Riley, Riley’s Trial); Leach, 137, 741-743 (Willie Riley); Randolph, 115 (Willie Riley).
From the Memorial University Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA) Song Index and Song Annotation Collection: Casey, George MUNFLA 68-40

History: This song was composed before 1829 as it is found as a broadside in Bodleaian.

Text: Tells the story of an aspiring surgeon from Sligo who meets a rich woman. She falls in love with him and threatens suicide if he does not marry her and move to North America. He agrees but is caught and imprisoned. The lady speaks in his defence, he is released and they are married in Ireland.

Tune: Full text recited and then the first verse sung.

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