“Billy Ma Hone”


"Love is sweet and love is pleasant, Long as you keep it in your view." A man asks Missis Mary why she can't favor him. Her love is on the ocean. He says her Billy Ma Hone is dead. She screams. He reveals himself and shows her the ring she gave him

Supplemental text

Billy Ma Hone
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From Dorothy Scarborough, A Song Catcher in Southern Mountains,
pp. 269-270. Collected from Polly Morris of Yellow Branch, Pirkey,

Love is sweet and love is Pleasant,
  long as you keep it in your view.
Now we air parted, broken-hearted,
  thought my heart would brake in two.

Good morning, good morning, Missis Mary,
  Oh, why can't you favor me?
My favor air on a brave young James
  and he's fair across the sea.

(5 additional stanzas)


Roud files this with Laws N35 ("The Dark-Eyed Sailor (Fair Phoebe and her Dark-Eyed Sailor)"), mostly, I think, because that's where Scarborough files it. Laws, however, does not file it there -- nor anywhere else that I can see -- and the name and form are sufficiently unlike the other Riley ballads that I finally decided to treat it as a separate song.

It is, no doubt, based on one of the myriad other songs of this type, probably rewritten (perhaps to apply to some local person), but I haven't a clue which such song. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Scarborough-SongCatcher, pp. 267-270, "Fair Phoebe and her Dark-Eyed Sailor" (3 texts; this is the third; the first, "Young Willie's Return, or The Token," with tune on pp. 426-427, is "The Dark-Eyed Sailor (Fair Phoebe and her Dark-Eyed Sailor)" [Laws N35]; the second, "The Sailor," with tune on p. 427, is "John (George) Riley (II)" [Laws N37])
  2. ST ScaSC270 (Partial)
  3. Roud #265
  4. BI, ScaSC270


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1937 (Scarborough)
Found in: US(SE)