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Broadside ballad entitled 'Mary Neil'



I am a bold undaunted youth my name is John M' Cann,
I am a native of Donegal, was bred near sweet Strabane;
For the stealing of an heiress, I lie in Lifford jail-
Her father vow'd he'd hang me for stealing Mary Neil,

While in strong irons I lay bound my love sent word to me,
Don't fear my father's anger, I'll try to set you free;
She made her father give consent, to let me out on bail,
And I was to stand my trial, for stealing Mary Neil.

Her father kept her close confined, fearing I would her see,
And at the assizes she was bound to appear against me;
It was in her father's absence, to the garden, she would steal;
Said I one day I'll try to see my charming Mary Neil.

Having heard her father was from home upon a summer day,
I went behind the garden hedge, and there in ambush lay,
The blackbird and the nightingale did echo through the vale,
And there by chance once more I spied my charming Mary Neil.

We sat upon a flowery bank, for to discourse awhile,
Says she my dear you need not fear, I'll free you from exile ;
For the Charles Douglas is ready, from Derry now to sail,
So off to Quebec, come with me my charming Mary Neil.

She gave consent so back she went and stole out her best clothes
And to no person in the house, her mind she did disclose ;
Unknown to me 500, from her father she did steal,
And that was twice I did elope, with my charming Mary Neil

A coach was got in readiness, for Derry town to go,
And we bribed the coach driver, to let no person know ;
He told us the secret, he never would reveal,
So now I land in Derry town, with my dear Mary Neil.

We to brave Captain M'Nealy, our passage money paid,
And for two days in Derry town, we under cover staid ;
We joined our hands in wedlock bands, before we did set sail,
Her father's wrath I valued not, I got my Mary Neil.

While o'er the proud and swelling seas our ship did gently glide
While on the passage to Quebec, six in the measles died ;
Until we came to Cape Wrath Head, we had no cause to wail,
But at Gaspar Bay I thought that day I'd lost my Mary Neil

On the afternoon of the 9th June, a thick fog it came on,
The captain cries look out my boys, I fear we are all gone ;
The vessel on a sandbank was drifted by the gale,
And 49 were washed overboard, with them went Mary Neil,

The ship became a total wreck, 100 miles from shore,
The cries of wives and children, did grieve my heart full sore,
Many who left their native home, their hard part to bewail,
When I plunged into the deep and saved my Mary Neil.

'Twas with the help of the crew we 500 lives did save,
The other 49 met with a watery grave,
The hardships that we did endure I cannot half reveal;
Content am I since I enjoy my charming Mary Neil.

Her father wrote a letter, and these words it did contain,
Back again to your native shore if you return again,
I'll make you heir of all I have, as I am old and frail,
So here you'll live in splendour, with your charming Mary Neil

Printed and Sold by JAMES LINDSAY,Wholesale
Stationer, &c., 11 King Street, (City), Glasgow. Upwards of
5,000 different sorts always on hand also, a great variety of
Picture Books, Song Books, Histories, &c. Shops and Haw-
kers supplied on Liberal Terms.


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Probable period of publication: 1860-1890   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(063)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Mary Neil'
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