Mudcat Café message #3836123 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #161381   Message #3836123
Posted By: Richie
01-Feb-17 - 01:38 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Died for Love: Sources: PART II
Subject: RE: Origins: Died for Love: Sources: PART II

If you're a cowboy looking for a traditional cowboy song- well here's one from Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads, John Lomax, 3nd edition, 1916 p. 397-398:


I am a wild and roving lad,
A wild and rambling lad I'll be;
For I do love a little girl
And she does love me.

"O Willie, O Willie, I love you so,
I love you more than I do know;
And if my tongue could tell you so
I'd give the world to let you know."

When Julia's old father came this to know,
That Julia and Willie were loving so,
He ripped and swore among them all,
And swore he'd use a cannon ball.

She wrote Willie a letter with her right hand
And sent it to him in the western land.
"Oh, read these lines, sweet William dear.
For this is the last of me you will hear."

He read those lines while he wept and cried,
"Ten thousand times I wish I had died"
He read those lines while he wept and said,
"Ten thousand times I wish I were dead."

When her old father came home that night
He called for Julia, his heart's delight,
He ran up stairs and her door he broke
And found her hanging by her own bed rope.

And with his knife he cut her down,
And in her bosom this note he found
Saying, " Dig my grave both deep and wide
And bury sweet Willie by my side."

They dug her grave both deep and wide
And buried sweet Willie by her side;
And on her grave set a turtle dove
To show the world they died for love.

This is a version of the "Cruel Father" broadside (my B version) which has the 'rambling boy' opening. The second stanza is one that borrowed from the opening Nelly's Constancy, 1686. After the cruel father discovers his daughter is in love with the "wild and roving lad" the father presses him to sea, where the lad is killed by a cannonball. His ghost haunts the father that night and later his daughter hangs herself leaving a note that blames her father. It ends with the "Died for Love" stanza.