Dalhousie University Archives

Nova Scotia Ballads — William and Harriet

[Page 186]
William and Harriet.
In fair London city a gentleman did dwell,
He had a young daughter a farmer loved well.
Because she proved constant and loved him so true,
That her father wanted her to bid him adieu.
“O no! my dear father, I am not so inclined
As to put my young farmer far out of my mind.”
“O unruly daughter, confined you shall be,
And I’ll send your young farmer far over the sea.”
As she was a sitting in her bowers one day,
When William drew near for to hear her to say,
She sang like a linnet1 and appeared like a dove,
And the song that she sang was concerning of love.
[Page 187]
Willam and Harriet

She had not been there long when William passed by
And on his loving Harriet he cast a longing eye.
“Since your cruel father with mine did agree
For to send me a sailing far over the sea.”
She said, "Dearest William, with you I will go,
Since my cruel father hath served us so.
I’ll pass for your shipmate, I’ll do what I can,
I’ll venture life, William, for you, my young man.
She dressed like a sailor as near as to be,
"So we'll both go together across the salt sea."
Away they set sailing for some foreign shore,
But never to old England returned ever more.
[Page 188]
Willam and Harriet

As they were sailing for some foreign shore,
The winds from the ocean began for to roar.
The ship she went down to the bottom of the sea,
And cast upon an island her William and she.
They wandered about some place for to spy,
Having nothing to eat, or nowheres 2 to lie.
So they sat them together down on the cold ground,
While the waves and the tempest made a terrible sound.
Then hunger came on and death it drew nigh,
They clasped themselves together intending to die.
What pair could be bolder to bid this world adieu,
So there they must moulder like lovyers3 so true.
[Page 189]
Willam and Harriet

Come all you young people that pass by this way
I pray drop one tear from your glittering eye,
One tear drop with pity and point to the way
Where William and Harriet do slumber and decay.
linnet: a bird from the finch family.
nowheres: term idiosyncratic to Atlantic Canadian dialect.
loyvers: antiquated form of "lovers"
Anonymous. Date: 2014-10-16