Song or Story
Mary of the Wild Moor
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"Mary of the Wild Moor" originated on English broadsides of the early 19th century and has been collected throughout the United States and Canada. It tells the story of a young woman returning home to her family and the tragic results that ensue.
1. One night when the wind it blew cold,/ Blew bitter across the wild moor,/ Young Mary, she came with her child,/ Wandering home to her own father’s door.
2. Saying, “Father, do pray let me in./ Take pity on me, I implore./ Or the babe at my bosom will die,/ From the winds that blow across the wild moor.
3. Oh, why did I leave this fair cot,/ Where once I was happy and free,/ Doomed to roam without friends or alone?/ Oh, Father, take pity on me.”
4. But her father was deaf to her cries,/ Not a voice nor a sound reached his ear,/ But the watch dogs did bark and the winds/ Blew bitter across the wild moor.
5. Oh, how must that father have felt,/ When he came to the door in the morn,/ There he found Mary dead, but the child was alive,/ Fondly clasped in its dead mother’s arms.
6. Half frantic, he tore his gray hairs,/ As on Mary he gazed, at the door,/ Saying, “Mary, has perished and died/ From the winds that blew across the wild moor.”
7. The father in grief pined away./ And the child to the grave was soon borne./ And there’s no one lives there to this day./ And the cottage to ruin has gone.
8. But the villagers point our the spot,/ Where the willow drooped over the door,/ Saying, “There Mary perished and died/ From the winds that blew across the wild moor.”
Jennie Gray, Evelyn Huckins, Eddington, Maine, abandoned, Laws P21, sentimental, family, ballad, broadside, English
Belden, Henry Marvin. Ballads and Songs Collected by the Missouri Folk-Lore Society (University of Missouri Studies Vol. XV, No. 1).Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri Press, 1966; Buchan, David. The Ballad and the Folk. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1972; Glassie, Henry. The Stars of Ballymenone. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006; Johnson, Helen Kendrick. Our Familiar Songs and Those Who Made Them. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1909; Jürgen, Kloss. “The Adventurous Story of “Poor Mary of the Wild Moor.” “The Adventurous Story of “Poor Mary of the Wild Moor,” Sept. 2013. Web. 21 Feb. 2014; Kidson, Frank. Traditional Tunes. Oxford: Charles Taphouse and Son, 1891; Laws, G Malcolm. American Balladry from British Broadsides. Philadelphia: The American Folklore Society, 1957; Mackenzie, Roy W. Ballads and Sea Songs From Nova Scotia. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1928; “Mary of the Wild Moor. Ballad. – The Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection.” Mary of the Wild Moor. Ballad. – The Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection. Johns Hopkins University, 2013. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
Ethnomusicology | Folklore | Oral History
Huckins, Evelyn. 1961. "Mary of the Wild Moor." NA 183, CD24.6. Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History, Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department, University of Maine.