The Cruel Mother

The Cruel Mother
She leaned her back agin the oak, aye O,
She leaned her back agin the oak;
First it bent and then it broke.
Lay me down my derry down,
Down by the greenwood side O.
As sung by Lemmy Brazil 29 September 1967 (Springthyme 67.6.28) In: Shepheard, Peter. Folk Songs and Ballads of the Brazil Family of Gloucester (1967).

Lemmie did not have an opening scene-setting stanza such as given here from other sources:
[There was a lady lived in York, aye O,
There was a lady lived in York;
She fell in live with her father’s clerk.
Lay me down my derry down,
Down by the greenwood side O.]

She leaned her back agin the oak, aye O,
She leaned her back agin the oak;
First it bent and then it broke.
Lay me down my derry down,
Down by the greenwood side O.

She leaned her back agin the stile, aye O,
She leaned her back agin the stile;
Then she thought it was my chile.
Lay me down my derry down,
Down by the greenwood side O.

She took a penknife long and sharp, aye O,
She took a penknife long and sharp;
She pierced the two pretty babes to the heart.
Lay me down my derry down,
Down by the greenwood side O.

She throwed the babes a long ways off, aye O,
She throwed the babes a long ways off;
The more she throwed them the blood dripped off.
Lay me down my derry down,
Down by the greenwood side O.

As she was a-walking her fathers wall, aye O,
As she was a-walking her father’s wall;
She saw two pretty babes a-playin at ball.
Lay me down my derry down,
Down by the greenwood side O.

She said, “Pretty babes if you was mine, aye O,
She said pretty babes if you was mine;
I’d dress you up in silk satins fine.”
Lay me down my derry down,
Down by the greenwood side O.

They said, “Dear mother when we were yourn, aye O,
You took a penknife long and sharp;
You pierced us two pretty babes to the heart.”
Lay me down my derry down,
Down by the greenwood side O.


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