Sung by: Mary Frances (Mrs. G.H.) Caldwell
Recorded in Pine Bluff, AR 11/10/62

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The wedding bells were ringing
On a moonlight wintry night.
The church was decorated;
All within was gay and bright.
A mother and her baby came
And saw the lights aglow.
She thought of how those same bells chimed
For her three years ago.

"I'd like to be admitted, sir,"
She told the sexton old,
"Just for the sake of Baby,
To protect him from the cold."
He told her that the wedding there
Was for the rich and grand,
And with an eager watching crowd,
Outside she'd have to stand.

She begged the sexton once again
To let her pass inside.
"For Baby's sake, you may step in,"
The gray-haired man replied.
"Does anyone know the reason why
This couple should not wed?
Speak now, or hold your peace
Forevermore," the preacher said.

"I must object," this lady cried
With voice so meek and mild.
"The bridegroom is my husband;
This is our little child."
"What proof have you?" the preacher asked.
"My infant," she replied.
She raised her babe and knelt to pray,
But the little one had died.

The parents of the bride then took
The outcast by the arm.
"We'll care for you through life," they said,
"You saved our child from harm."
The outcast wife, the bride and parents
Quickly drew away.
The husband died by his own hand
Before the break of day.

No wedding feast was spread that night;
Two graves were made next day,
One for the little baby,
And in one the father lay.
The story has been often told
By the fireside warm and bright
Of the bride and groom, the outcast wife,
And the fatal wedding night.

(Dr. Wolf: "Where'd you learn that one?"
Mrs. Caldwell: "'Wedding Bells'."
Dr. Wolf: "Where did you learn it?"
Mrs. Caldwell: "Oh, just when I was a kid. I don't remember."
Dr. Wolf: "You really remember them well.")

Also found in Randolph, Vol. IV, #766, "The Fatal Wedding"; Brown, Vol. II, #272, "The Fatal Wedding"; Belden, p. 141, "The Fatal Wedding."

All Songs Recorded by John Quincy Wolf, Jr., unless otherwise noted

The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection
Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas
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