Sung by: Almeda Riddle

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(Comment by Mrs. Riddle: "I believe this. You'll see no performing because, in the first place, I wouldn't know how, I suppose, and I wouldn't if I could, because I firmly and fully believe if there's anything that I could teach you--I have the classes, the few I have taught--that you don't, please, don't perform a folksong, or a ballad especially. You present that. Get behind it. It will entertain. If you render your ballad it will entertain enough. And I'm not an entertainer. If it entertains you, then I'm glad, but I'm not an entertainer. So I have nothing to lose. I get the words right, well . . .")

Last night there were four Marys,
And tonight there’ll only be three.
There was Mary Eaton, and Mary Seton,
And Mary Carmichael, and me.

Last night I washed my queen’s feet,
And I put gold braids in her hair,
And the onliest thing it’s ever going to bring,
Is me meet this death so sore.

For word is in the kitchen--
The word’s gone down in the hall--
That Mary Hamilton’s great with child
To the highest Stewart of them all.

He courted her in the kitchen,
And he courted her in the hall.
He courted her in the low cellar . . .

(Comment by Mrs. Riddle: “I’m sorry. That’s Abrams’ version. We’re going to back up. I’m going to sing it authentically as I found it on the old ballad.”)

He promised her the whole wide world,
But he gave to her nothing at all.

Mary Hamilton walks weeping,
All down by the lonely blue sea.
“I’ll bear my Stewart child alone,
And ‘twill be the death o' me.”

When her wee bairn was stillborn,
She cast him into the sea.
“Lie there, lie there. You’re the king’s grandson,
And ye'll have no more of me.”

Then down hath come the old queen,
And the gold braids still in her hair.
“Oh, Mary Hamilton, where’s that child?
I heard him crying full sore.”

“There hath never been no wee bairn here,
As you plainly can see.
It’s just this pain in my poor heart,
And the weeping ye heard was me.”

“Put on your dress of red, my dear,
Or either black or brown,
For before tomorrow’s sun shall set,
I’m going to ride you through Edinborough town.”

Now, she neither put on a dress of red,
Nor the black or brown,
But arrayed herself in the purest of white.
Yet they rode her through Edinborough town.

When they first entered Edinborough town,
A heel came off on her shoe,
And in the courts of Edinborough town,
She was condemned to die.

Last night there were four Marys,
And tonight there’ll only be three.
There’s Mary Eaton, and Mary Beaton,
Mary Carmichael, and me.

Also found in Randolph, Vol. I, #26.

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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