“The Merchant's Only Son”


A young man's parents send him to America to keep him from marrying a poor girl. He reaches land despite his ship's wreck. He meets a rich girl who offers marriage, but he remains true to the girl at home. The rich girl gives him money to return to her


Ranson: Tune is "Thomas Murphy" on p. 98.

Ranson's version makes the lost ship the _North Star_, an historical wreck on the Welsh coast (see "The North Star") - BS


  • Bodleian, 2806 b.11(224), "The Belfast Lovers" ("You lovers all attention pay, the truth I will pen down"), T. Pearson (Manchester), 1850-1899; also Johnson Ballads 1895, "The Belfast Lovers"; 2806 c.8(156), "The Limerick Lovers"; 2806 b.9(65), "The Lovers of Derry"


  • Martin Howley, "The North Star" (on IRClare01)


  1. Laws M21, "The Merchant's Only Son"
  2. Ranson, pp. 48-49, "The North Star" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Gardner/Chickering 74, "The Merchant's Only Son" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. DT 764, MERCHSON
  5. Roud #1019
  6. BI, LM21


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1900 (broadside, Bodleian 2806 b.11(224))
Found in: US(MW) Ireland