MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Pat O'Reilly
John Bulger NFLD 2 Tape 7 Track 3
Trepassey Audio:
Ballad

LEACH: All right
BULGER (Sings):

My name it's Pat O'Reilly and the truth l will unfold
Reared near the town of _________ in the city of __________
My parents reared me tenderly having no child but me
And with them l did live content till the age of twenty-three

Till at last l took a notion to cross the raging main
Seeking for some promotion unto Amerikay
Seeking employment in that land where the fortune do obtain
And when l will secure it to return straight home again

At last l had a sweetheart McCormack was her name
When she heard we were for parting straight away to me she came
Saying Pat can this be possible that you're going to prove unkind
And leave me broken-hearted in sorrow here behind

Fair Ann l said be not afraid its you l do adore
My daily thoughts shall be of you while on Columbus' shore
Seeking employment in that land where the fortune do obtain
And when l will secure it to return straight home again

With that she seemed quite reconciled and home straightway she went
And early the next morning to Captain Pilot went
She swore that l waylaid her and used her barbarously
And robbed her of a purge of gold which proved my destiny

The police they soon surrounded me and took me by the hand
They marched me off to ___________ jail by the magistrates command
Twas there l spent in iring (?) bound waiting my trial day
But little was my notion that she'd swear my life away

On the fourteenth day of July my trial it came on
This fair one she came to the court before the judge did stand
She swore that l waylaid her and robbed her of five pounds
And tried to force her to a pool where she would soon be drowned

The jury gave the verdict with words that was severe
This maid she must be rightified for all she have to swear
The jury gave the verdict how loud the judge did cry
You're cruelty to this fair maid young Reilly you must die

When l received my sentence tears from my eyes did flow
Thinking to leave my mother in sorrow grief and woe
For she being far advanced in years having no child but me
How will she stand to see me die upon the gallis tree

MALE VOICE [in background]: Well done yourself.


Notes


Sources : Peacock, 1965: 159-160; O'Conor, 35; Roud #5494

From the Memorial University Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA) Song Index and Song Annotation Collection: Downey, Ralph Francis MUNFLA 71-39; Spurvey, Eugene F. MUNFLA 73-180; Goldstein, Kenneth S. and A. O'Hara and Gerald Thomas and H. Rowlings MUNFLA 78-239; Norris, Bernice MUNFLA 78-318

History: Newfoundland, Canada.

Text: Pat O'Reilly decides to move to America to seek his fortune and then return home to marry his sweetheart.   Upon hearing his plans to leave Pat's sweetheart, Ann, tells the authorities that he treated her poorly and robbed her of her gold.   This lie causes Pat O'Reilly to be thrown in jail and executed never to see the shores of America.

Tune: A classic arch-shaped ABBA form in 6/8 metre.   The key is major.

 

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