Sung by: Almeda Riddle
Recorded in Heber Springs, AR 9/7/61

Click here to listen to the original recording

Come, listen to a tragedy,
Both people young and old.
I’ll tell you all a story
That will make your blood run cold.
It happened to a lady fair;
Miss Watt was her name.
She was poisoned by her husband,
And he hangs for the same.

Miss Watt, she was handsome,
But not in high degree.
Henry Glenn was a wealthy man,
As you can plainly see.
He said to her, “Miss Mary,
If you will be my wife,
I’ll guard you as a parent
Through all this gloomy life.”

“To be your wife, dear Henry,
Why, you have my consent,
But I fear before we’re married, sir,
I fear that you’ll repent.
I fear before we’re married long,
You’ll think me a disgrace.
I’ve not the wealth that you have;
This often is the case.”

“Oh, my dearest Mary,
I never thought you’d serve me so,
But by all of creation,
I will be true to you,
And if you still reject me,
I want to end my life.
I want to live no longer
If you won’t be my wife.”

Believing all his story,
She soon became his wife,
And little did she think, poor girl,
He’d take from her her life.
And little did she think, poor girl,
Or ever she suspect,
That he would take from her
What he’d sworn to protect.

They had not been married long,
Three weeks, when she took ill.
Great doctors, they were sent for
To do their powerful skill.
Great doctors, they were sent for,
But none of them could save.
At last it was pronounced by them
She must go to her grave.

Her brother, hearing all of this,
Straightway to her did go.
Said, “Sister dear, oh, Sister,
You’re dying, the doctors tell me so.”
Said, “Sister, dear, you’re dying sure;
Your life is at an end,
And don’t you think ‘twas poison
From him you thought your friend?”

“As I lie here on my deathbed
And know that I must die,
Before the great judgment,
The truth I won’t deny.
I know that it was Henry.
I cannot tell a lie,
But I love him just the same,
And would not see him die.”

When Henry got the tidings,
His wife he went to see.
Said, “Mary, oh, my Mary,
Were you deceived in me?”
Three times she said, “Dear Henry,”
And sank into a swoon.
He smiled upon her lightly,
And gently left the room.

“Henry poisoned me,
My poor heart, oh, how wrong,
But when I’m dead, dear brother,
Don’t have my Henry hung.
I do freely forgive him.”
She turned upon her side.
“In heaven come and meet me.”
She sweetly smiled and died.

Also found in Randolph, Vol. II, #157, “Henry Green”; Belden, p. 321, “Henry Green.”

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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