Songs Our Parents Sang
Reclaimed Memories

Songs Our Parents Sang




THREE YOUNG LADIES

 ‘Twas on the twenty fourth of June
When summer flowers in their bloom,
That forked lightning flashed around,
While awful thunder shook the ground.

The awful thunder ceased to roar,
The forked lightning flashed no more,
The rain in torrents no more falls
But God gives more alarming calls.

In western Pennsylvania fair,
At Washington, three ladies were
All teachers in the Sabbath School,
Where children learn the golden rule.

And on the day before described,
The three to Gravel Run did ride.
At God’s own house they did appear,
With young John Ashe to worship there.

They heard the gospels joyful sound,
And at the altar gathered round,
And took the sacramental wine
And broken bread for the last time.

A hymn of prayer and praise they sang
As they rode back to Washington,
And tried a swollen stream to ford
Which sent their spirits home to God.

The young man on the tide did float,
Till brought in contact with a boat,
In which he mounted o’er the waves
Which saved him from a watery grave.

The people went and searched around,
In old French Creek their bodies found.
Which in a charnel house were laid,
And funeral ceremonies paid.

Lucinda Phelps and Harriett Strong,
Elizabeth Ashe,--all three are gone,
The rolling current stopped their breath,
And left their bodies cold in death.

Where now do those young ladies lie?
Let three graveyards make the reply.
All those who wish a joyful home
Regard these warnings from the tomb.


These old ballads were not very good poetry, but certainly as good as many of the country songs we hear today. So many of the old ballads were written about some tragedy. The one above is sung to the well known refrain of, " The Butcher Boy."


LISTEN TO THE MOCKING BIRD

I am dreaming now of Hallie, Sweet Hallie, Sweet Hallie,
I am dreaming now of Hallie, for the thought of her is one that never dies.
She’s sleeping in the valley, the valley, the valley,
She’s sleeping in the valley, and the mocking bird is singing where she lies.

Chorus

Listen to the mocking bird, listen to the mocking bird,
The mocking bird is singing o’er her grave.
Listen to the mocking bird, listen to the mocking bird,
Still singing where the weeping willows wave.

Ah! Well I yet remember, remember, remember,
Ah! Well I yet remember, when we gathered in the cotton side by side.
Twas in the mild September, September, September,
Twas in the mild September and the mocking bird is singing far and wide.

 
THE BUTCHER BOY

In London Town there once did dwell
A butcher boy, I loved so well.
He courted me, my life away,
And then with me he would not stay.
There is another place in town,
Where he often goes, and sits around.
He’ll take a strange girl on his knee,
And tell her things that he once told me.

It's grief oh, grief I'll tell you why;
It's because she has more gold than I.
Her gold will melt, her beauty fly,
And then she'll be as poor as I.

So dig my grave, both wide and deep,
Place a marble stone at my bead and feet;
Upon my breast a turtle dove,
To show to the world that I died for love.

 
BILLY BOY

Where have you been Billy Boy Billy Boy?
Where have you been, Charming Billy?
I've been to we my wife, she's the joy of my life;
She's a young thing and cannot leave her mother.

Did she ask you to come in, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Did she ask you to come n, Charming Billy?
She asked me b come in with dimples in her chin;
She's a young thing and cannot leave her mother.

Did she set for you a chair, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Did she set for you a chair, Charming Billy?
Yes, she set for me a chair, with the wrinkles in her hair;
She's a young thing and cannot leave her mother.

Can she bake a sweetened pone, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Can she bake a sweetened pone, Charming Billy?
She can bake a sweetened pone, you can eat or leave alone;
She's a young thing and cannot leave her mother.

Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Can she bake a cherry pie, Charming Billy?
She can bake a cherry pie, quick as a cat can wink its eye;
She's a young thing and cannot leave her mother.

Can she make a pair of breeches, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Can she make a pair of breeches, Charming Billy?
She can make a pair of breeches, quick as you can count the stitches;
She's a young thing and cannot leave her mother. 

How old is she, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
How old is she, Charming Billy?
She's twice six, twice seven, twice ten and eleven;
She's a young thing and cannot leave her mother.

 
WHERE IS MY BOY TONIGHT?

Where is my wandering boy tonight?
The boy of my tend'rest care,
The boy that was once my joy and light,
The child of my love and prayer.

CHORUS

O, where is my boy tonight?
O, where is my boy tonight?
My heart o'er flows,
For I love him he knows.
O, where is my boy tonight?

Once he was pure as the morning dew,
As he knelt at his mother's knee.
No face so bright, no heart more true,
And none was as sweet as he

CHORUS

O, where is my boy tonight?
O, where is my boy tonight?
My heart o’er flows,
For I love him he knows.
O, where is my boy tonight?


Troy remembers hearing his parents sing "Erin's Green Shore'. My mother also knew this song.

 
'ERIN'S GREEN SHORE

One evening so late as I rambled
On the banks of a clear, pearly stream,
I sat down on a bed of primroses
And I gently fell into a dream.
I dreamed that I saw a fair damsel,
Her equal I ne’er saw before.
And she sighed for the wrongs of her country,
As she strayed along 'Erins' green shore.

I quickly addressed that fair damsel
"Bright jewel, come tell me your name.
I know you are strange to this country,
And I dare to ask you the name."
She resembled the goddess of freedom,
Green was the mantle she wore,
All bound round the shamrock and primroses,
That grew along ‘Erins' green shore.

Her eyes were like two sparkling diamonds,
Or the stars on a cold frosty night.
Her cheeks were like two blooming roses,
And her teeth were of ivory so white.
She resembled the goddess of liberty.
Green was the dress that she wore.
All bound round with shamrock and primroses.
That grew on 'Erins' green shore.

In a transport of joy. I awakened,
And I found I had been in a dream.
That beautiful damsel had fled me,
And I longed to slumber again.
May the heavens above be her guardian,
For I know I shall see her no more.
May the sunbeams of glory shine o'er her,
As she strays on 'Erins' green shore.





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