“Crazy Jane”


Henry deserts Jane, "and with him forever fled the wits of Crazy Jane." She tells the story to each frightened passerby and each "in pity cries: 'God help poor Crazy Jane!'" "When men flatter, sigh and languish, Think them false, I found them so"

Supplemental text

Crazy Jane
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From Kenneth Peacock, Songs of the Newfoundland Outports, Volume II,
pp. 436-437. Sung by Edward Taylor, Joe Batt's Arm, July 1952.

Why fair maid in every feature
Are such signs so fair expressed?
Can a wandering wretched creature
With such terror fill thy breast?

Then I will sing my lovelorn ditty,
Still I'll lonely pace the plain,
And each passerby in pity cries:
"God help poor Crazy Jane!"

(stanzas 1, 8 of 8)


Bodleian attributes authorship to Matthew Gregory Lewis (1775-1818), but attributes no other broadsides to him. According to the English Department University of Pennsylvania site Lewis is best known for his 1796 Gothic novel "The Monk."

The Public Domain Music site attributes the music to John Davy (1763-1824) and makes 1800 the date of the song.

Bodleian has one related broadside as "The Birth of Crazy Jane", London, 1800-1802, shelfmark Johnson Ballads 301.

Bodleian has one parody as "Crazy Paul" dated Feb 5, 1801 which asks "Can a moonstruck Russian sailor Draw the fleet of France from Brest?" shelfmark Curzon b.3(138).

Broadside LOCSinging sb10044a: J. Andrews dating per _Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song_ by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS

Yeats wrote a whole series of "Crazy Jane" poems (though they don't seem to have been particularly popular); Peacock suspects this piece of inspiring them, but cannot prove it. - RBW


  • Bodleian, Harding B 12(141), "The Favourite Song, of Crazy Jane," Burbage and Stretton (Nottingham), 1797-1807; also Harding B 11(3335), Johnson Ballads 781, Harding B 11(3647), Firth b.27(10), Firth b.26(46), Harding B 28(61), Harding B 11(740), Firth b.25(140), Harding B 11(741), Harding B 25(444), Harding B 17(66a), Harding B 17(65b), Firth b.25(340), 2806 c.18(74), "Crazy Jane"; 2806 b.11(216), Harding B 11(3066), Harding B 11(3067), Harding B 11(3068), Harding B 11(3069), "Poor Crazy Jane"
  • LOCSinging, sb10044a, "Crazy Jane," J. Andrews (New York), 1853-1859; also as102530, "Crazy Jane"


  1. Peacock, pp. 436-437, "Crazy Jane" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. ST Pea436 (Partial)
  3. Roud #6458
  4. BI, Pea436


Author: Words: Matthew Gregory Lewis/Music: John Davy ?
Earliest date: before 1808 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 12(141))
Found in: Canada(Newf)