The Lady Leroy

As I went a-walking one morning in May,
For to view those fine meadows, all nature seemed gay,
I espied a young couple on old Erin’s green shore,
A-viewing the ocean where the wild billows roar.

“Sally, dear Sally, you’re the girl I adore,
And to be parted from you it grieves my heart sore,
But your parents are rich, love, and they’re angry at me,
And were I to stay with you our ruin it would be.”

When she heard him say this she dressed herself in men’s clothes
And away to her father she instantly goes;
She purchased a vessel, paid him down his demand,
But little he knew it was from his own daughter’s hand.

Then to her true lover she went right away,
She bade him get ready without further delay,
So they hoisted their topsails and colors let fly,
And she sailed o’er the ocean, the Lady Leroy.

When her old father heard this, in grief and despair,
Straightway to his Captain he soon did repair,
Saying, “Pursue and overtake them and his life destroy,
For he ne’er will enjoy the fair Lady Leroy.”

Then proud of his message this bold Captain goes,
As if for to conquer some bold, daring foes;
He spies a large vessel, her colors let fly,
He hails her and finds she’s the Lady Leroy.

“Now turn back to Erin, to Erin’s green shore,
Or a broadside of grapeshot into you I’ll pour.”
But Sally’s true lover made him this reply,
“We’ll never surrender, we’ll conquer or die!”

Then broadside like hail on each other did pour,
Until many brave seamen were wounded full sore,
But Sally’s true lover gained the victory,
For, like all true lovers, they will always be free.

“Now turn back to Erin and there let them know,
That we ne’er will be conquered by friend or by foe;
Here’s a health to young Sally, she’s the Lady Leroy,
She’s the source of my comfort and my only joy.”

Gordon, Robert Winslow, 1888-1961
Date Recorded: 
September, 1924
Track Duration (h:m:s): 
Original Medium: 
wax cylinder
American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
Call Number/Physical Location: 
AFS 19011A: G77 Misc 127

From Franz Rickaby's notes to his 1923 transcription of M.C. Dean: "From his mother. 'All his folks sang it.'"


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