MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Cruel Katie-O
John C. Molloy NFLD 2 Tape 18 Track 3
St. Shott's Audio:
Ballad

I was twenty-one when l first began to court a neighbour's child
Her figure's tall and handsome she won my heart's free guile [sic]
I asked her if she'd marry me in time to let me know
With pleasures now I'll wait awhile ten years for Katie-o

She says young man be easy and tarry another while
And don't be so pressing me what am l but a child
If you intend to marry me away now from me go
And don't torment a figure like lovely Katie-O

And when she found the other one I'm sure he lost no time
'Twas straight before the clergy in wedlocks they were joined
It would break the heart of any young man if they were standing by
To hear the remarks they were making while the bride and groom passed by

And now she's gone and left me in this wide world all alone
And where to find another like her l don't know where to roam
And where to find another like her l don't know where she may be
For cruel hearted Katie she proved unkind to me

Come all you sporting fellows a warning take by me
Don't ever trust to any young girl no matter what she say
Don't ever trust to any young girl no matter who she may be
For cruel hearted Katie she proved unkind to me


Notes


Sources: Lehr 1985: 121 (“Lovely Katie-O”); differs from but has some similar elements to “Katie Cruel” (Roud 5701)

History: Newfoundland ballad is one of many songs composed by Mark Walker of Tickle Cove, Bonavista (see Hiscock ). Lehr’s notes tell us that “Mr. Walker was courting one Katie, when Mike Whelan, a chap from Indian Arm (now called Summervill, Bonavista Bay) made off with the lovely maid (1985: 122).

Text: Sung from the perspective of the jilted (male) lover, the story describes how he loved Katie and although she promised her love to him, she married another.

Tune: Another Dorian tune without the 7th degree, this melody is characterised by a number of dramatic leaps. In the ‘a’ phrase of the abba form, an octave descent, and in the ‘b’ phrase a rising minor sixth lend a particularly dramatic touch to the presentation. The metre is a steady 6/8 in a moderate tempo.

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