“The Wilderness Lady”


At dinner in a London lord's house an English lady toasts King William "and to all his strong forces." The next day the "Wilderness lady" challenges her to a duel. Wounded, the English lady cries for mercy. An English lord interrupts the duel.


The "King William" of this song is presumably William III (reigned 1688-1694 with Mary II; sole reign 1694-1702). William I the Conqueror/Bastard (reigned 1066-1087) and William II Rufus (1087-1100) are certainly too early. William IV (1830-1837) is chronologically possible, but his claim to the throne was unchallenged.

If the song were set in Ireland, I would consider that interpretation certain. But William III was also controversial in England, as he overthrew James II in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. - RBW


  1. Karpeles-Newfoundland 34, "The Wilderness Lady" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #2295
  3. BI, KaNew034


Alternate titles: “A Health to the King”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1929 (Karpeles-Newfoundland)
Found in: Canada(Newf)