“There Was a Lady in the East”


A lady with many suitors loves Jimmy, her father's clerk. Her father would disown her but she says she wants Jimmy more than treasure. Her father shoots her. Her mother faints and Jimmy commits suicide.

Supplemental text

There Was a Lady in the East
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

The Maid of the East

From Louise Manny and James Reginald Wilson, Songs of Miramichi,
#84, pp. 270-271. From the singing of Florence Bateman of Lower
Derby and Marie Hare of Strathadam, 1962.

There was a maid lived in the East,
  her age was scarcely twenty,
And she had sweethearts of the best,
  Youths, lords and squires plenty.
And she ha sweethearts of the best,
  And they doted on her,
But she lover her Jimmy ten times the best
  Than all those men of honor.

(5 additional stanzas)


Peacock claims this is Laws M19, "The Young Sailor Bold (I) (The Rich Merchant's Daughter)." ["Although the story is the same ... the texts and tunes are completely different."] I think that makes this a different ballad. And the stories are not so close either. [I agree; there is no hint of accident or mistake here, and it's a different set of suicides. Roud also splits them. - RBW] - BS


  • Bodleian, 2806 c.18(76), "The Cruel Father and Constant Lover," J. Pitts (London), 1802-1819


  • Marie Hare, "The Maid of the East" (on MRMHare01)


  1. Peacock, pp. 726-728, "There Was a Lady in the East" (1 text, 3 tunes)
  2. Karpeles-Newfoundland 68, "There Was a Lady in the East" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Manny/Wilson 84, "The Maid of the East" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. ST Pea726 (Partial)
  5. Roud #2298
  6. BI, Pea726


Alternate titles: “The Cruel Father and Constant Lover”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1820 (broadside, Bodleian 2806 c.18(76))
Found in: Canada(Mar,Newf)