Willie and Mary (revisited)

Here is my “revised ending” to the traditional song/story of Willie and Mary, which, in its various guises, always bothered me how the woman just accepted being tested by her love after years and years of waiting. She never got upset about being tested after all that time. Me, I’d tell him where to go. So here’s my offering – the last two verses are my “revisited version”.   🙂

Willie and Mary (revisited)

As Willie and Mary met by the seaside

A long farewell for to take

Said Mary to Willie, “If you go away

I’m afraid my poor heart, it might break”

“Oh don’t be afraid, dearest Mary,” he said

As he clasped his fond maid to his side

“In my absence don’t mourn, for when I return

I will make you, sweet Mary, my bride”

 

Seven long years had passed and no word at last

Mary stood by her own cottage door

A beggar came by with a patch on his eye

Bedraggled and ragged and tore

“Your charity, fair maid, bestow upon me

Your fortune I’ll tell you beside

Your lad that you mourn will never return

To make little Mary his bride”

 

She slipped and she started, saying, “All that I have

It’s freely to you I will give

If you tell me true what I now ask of you

Is my Willie dead or alive?”

“He’s living,” said he, “though in sad poverty

And shipwrecked he has been beside

When he’d money untold and pockets of gold

He’d have made little Mary his bride”

 

“Then if he is dead, no other I’ll wed

No other I’ll have by my side

For in riches though rolled or covered with gold

He’d have made his own Mary his bride”

Then the patch off his eye the old beggar let fly

His old coat and crutches beside

And in sailor’s blue clothes and with cheeks like the rose

It was Willie who stood by her side

 

“Oh don’t be afraid, dearest Mary,” he said

“It was only your faith that I tried

To the church we’ll away by the break of the day

And I’ll make little Mary my bride”

 

With eyes afire did Mary face the liar

“My faith was not yours to be tried

I’ve kept my heart mired, I never did tire

And your test I’ll no longer abide

Through the longest of nights have I cried and I cried

Seven long years I stayed true

Though suitors have tried they lay not by my side

All for my sweet love in you

 

But now you’ve impressed, beggarly dressed

And lied to me, thinking you’re dead

Your love’s not the best if it requires a test

My own company I’ll keep instead”

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6 thoughts on “Willie and Mary (revisited)

  1. Nice one! There’s a lot of these testing songs, and they all make me deeply uneasy. It’s one thing when people have been apart for 7 years and do not recognise each other at first, quite another to do it deliberately.

  2. Does it have a tune? I do know several broken token/testing songs (I also know songs about war, death, hunting and whaling but then if I only sang ethical songs I’d have no repertoire!) but these are the best broken token/testing lyrics I’ve come across. I’d love to learn it to sing.

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