“Margaret Gray”


Margaret Gray and her baby bid farewell to Robert Gray as he goes to work in the field. They agree to meet at a neighbor's house. She becomes lost in the woods. Her baby dies. Long after, she finally finds her way home.

Supplemental text

Margaret Gray
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From Helen Hartness Flanders & George Brown, Vermont Folk-Songs
& Ballads, pp. 19-26. From Orlon, Merrill of Charleston, New
Hampshire. Collection date not given.

Fair the cabing (sic.) walls was gleaming
ON that sunbeam golden glow,
On that lovely April morning,
It was a hundred years ago.
As upon that humble threshold
Stood the young wife, Margaret Gray,
With her fearless blue eyes glancing
Down the lonely forest way.

(24 additional stanzas)


Flanders and Brown claim this piece was well-known in Vermont, and indeed they seem to list two informants. But it doesn't appear to have turned up in any other collection.

Julia Caroline Ripley Dorr (1825-1913) was successful enough as a writer to earn a place in the _Dictionary of American Biography_, but I checked eight anthologies without finding a single word she had written. _Granger's Index to Poetry_, which cites some 300 anthologies, lists a few of her poems -- but not one of those 300 volumes includes this piece. Given how wordy this poem is, it's perhaps not surprising. - RBW


  1. Flanders/Brown, pp. 19-26, "Margaret Gray" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. ST FlBr019 (Partial)
  3. Roud #5440
  4. BI, FlBr019


Alternate titles: “Margery Gray -- A Legend of Vermont (author's title)”
Author: Julia C. R. Dorr
Earliest date: 1872 (Lippincott's)
Found in: US(NE)