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It was on a cold, dark winter's night,
As th' wind blew across th' wild moor;
Poor Mary come wanderin' home with her child,
Till she come to her father's own door.

"Oh, why did I ever leave this spot
Where once I was happy an' free?
I am now doomed to roam with no freedom or home,
An' none to take pity on me.

"Oh father, dear father," she cried,
"Do come down an' open the door,
For the child in my arms will perish an' die
From the wind that blows 'cross the wild moor."

But the old man was deaf to her cries,
Not a sound of her voice did he hear;
An' the watchdog did howl an' the village bell tolled,
An' the wind blew across the wild moor.

Oh, how must that old man have felt,
When he opened the door in the morn;
He found Mary dead, but the child alive
Closely clasped in its dead mother's arms.

The old man with grief pined away,
An' the child to its mother soon went;
An' no-one, they say, has lived there to this day,
An' the cottage has fallen to ruin.

The villagers point out the spot
Where the willow droop over the door,
Sayin', "There Mary died, once the gay cillage bride,"
An' the wind still blows 'cross the wild moor.

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Source: Randolph, V, 1982. Ozark Folksongs, Illinois Press, Urbana

Randolph wrote:

Sung by Mrs Walter Harmon, Pineville, Mo., Dec 10, 1928.

This song is common in England (A Williams), and has been printed in several American songbooks (Kidson, H. Johnson). For American texts from oral tradition see Shearin and Combs; Tolman; Tolman and Eddy; Shoemaker; Pound; Cox; Sandburg; Eddy; Belden; Brewster; and the Brown Collection.

See the discussion thread for more versions.

Roud: 155 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six
Laws: P21

Related Songs:  The Fatal Snowstorm (thematic)

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