Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sweet Mary of Kilmore

Words: Unknown
Tune: Traditional (Harry Power?)

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As I strolled out one morning
The birds did sweetly sing
And being Sunday morning
The village bells did ring
As I walked on contemplating
On nature's beauty store
I beheld a lovely maiden
Twas Mary of Kilmore

She on the grass was seated
A young man by her side
He asked if she would name the day
That she would be his bride
He was her own true lover
For I heard the vows he swore
That he would ever constant be
To Mary of Kilmore

She said, "My dearest Henry"
"I wish that we had never met"
"Since my parents won't give their consent"
"For me to marry yet"
"And about you, dearest Henry"
"They bade me think no more"
"But separation is worse than death"
Said Mary of Kilmore

"If your parents have objections"
"There's one thing we can do
We can go down to Melbourne town
And there I'll marry you
This very night we'll take a flight
So gather up your store
Oh, that I'll do quite willingly
Said, Mary of Kilmore

So this wronged yet beautiful maiden
Her lovers wish did keep
But out her bedroom window
When her parents were asleep
She shed no tears at parting
Though her heart was troubled sore
She made haste to meet her lover
Did Mary of Kilmore

And soon by coach and horses
They were quickly whirled away
They arrived in Melbourne town
At 10 o'clock next day
So attractive was the cottage
And the bridal dress she wore
She soon became a wedded wife
Did Mary of Kilmore

But her husband proved a gambler
Which caused her many a tear
And to his home he'd not return
Til day was drawing near
Though attractive was the cottage
All by the tranquil shore
She did not feel contentment
Poor Mary of Kilmore

And one day when meditating
With sorrow at her lot
She was handed in a letter
Which caused her blood to start
It told she was no wedded wife
Though the wedding ring she wore
And that the marriage was all a sham
Poor Mary of Kilmore

So she took her infant in her arms
And across the fields did roam
To visit again with a broken heart
Her childhood's happy home
But she found the cottage as she left
With ivy towering o'er
For her parents died of broken hearts
Poor Mary of Kilmore

So now my pitiful story
I'll bring it to an end
Her husband he's in Pentridge
Her child is with a friend
And within the Kew asylum
You'll hear the mournful roar
Of that wronged but beautiful maiden
Poor Mary of Kilmore

Mentioned by Russel Ward in his autobiography as having been heard from Hoopiron Jack. Keith McKenry reports that Ward thought the song was marked by "maudlin sentimentality" and "deserving of oblivion"

Keith McKenry found further lyrics in the National Library archive and included it in his Lost Folk Songs of Australia collection.

A Roller-coaster ride of adventure and romance. Derived at least in part from an Irish song of the same name.

Kate Burke put this tune to the words, the tune being from a song about the bushranger, Harry Power

The illustration to this post is a photograph of Kew Asylum.

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