Sung by: Almeda Riddle
Recorded in Mountain View, AR 4/20/63
Click here to listen to the original recording
Lived a butcher’s boy; oh, I loved him well.
He courted me, my heart away,
And now with me he will not stay.
Now, there’s a place down in London town
Where my love goes, so he sits him down,
Takes another girl upon his knee,
And he tells her tales that he once told me.
Now I tell you the reason why:
It’s because she has more gold than I,
But her gold will melt, and her silver fly,
And then she’ll be as poor as I.
She goes upstairs to make her bed.
Nothing to her mother was said.
Then her mother, she comes upstairs, too.
Said, “Daughter, dear, what’s troubling you?”
“Mother, oh Mother, I can’t tell
It's about the butcher’s boy that I love so well.
He's courted me, led me astray,
And now with me will never stay.
“Go get me a chair to sit upon,
A pen and ink, and I’ll write it down.”
At the end of each line, she dropped a tear,
At the end of the verse, cried, “Willie, dear.”
That night her father came in from work,
Said, “Where is my daughter? Oh, she looks so hurt.”
He goes upstairs just to give her hope,
And finds her hanging with a rope.
Takes out his knife and cuts her down,
And in her bosom those lines he found:
“Go dig my grave; dig it wide and deep.
Put a marble stone at my head and feet,
And a turtledove upon my breast
So to let the world know I died of love.”
Also found in Randolph, Vol. I, #45; Brown, Vol. II, #81; Belden, p. 201.