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When first in this country
A strange curiosity caused me to roam
Over Europe resolved for to ramble
When I left Philadelphia my home
Until I came to old England
Where forms of great beauty do shine
There I beheld a fair damsel
And I wished in my heart she was mine.

One morning I careless did ramble
Where the pure wind soft breezes did blow,
It was down by a pure crystal river
Where the sweet pearly waters did flow.
It was there I espied this fair creature,
Some goddess appearing to be
As she rose from the reeds by the water
On the green mossy banks of the Lea.

I stepped up to this fair creature
Her fair cheeks did blush like a rose,
Says I "The green meadows are charming
Your guardian I'll be if you choose."
She said "Sir, I do not want no guardian,
Young man, you're a stranger to me.
And yonder my father is coming
O'er the green mossy banks of the Lea.

I waited till up came her father,
I plucked up my spirits once more.
Saying "Kind sir, if this be your daughter,
She is the beautiful girl I adore.
Five thousand a year is my portion
And your daughter a lady shall be,
She shall ride in her chariot and horses
On the green mossy banks of the Lea."

Then they welcomed me home to their cottage,
Soon after in wedlock we joined.
And there I entered a castle,
With grandeur and splendour did shine.
So now the American stranger
All pleasure and pastime doth see,
With adorable gentle Matilda,
On the green mossy banks of the Lea.

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Source: The Ploughboy's Glory. Edited by Michael Dawney.

Sung by a Mr Lockley who was sexton at High Ercall Shropshire.

References to the volumes of Butterworth's manuscripts- IV, 277 & 279; VIa, 38a; VIIa, 5. Original pitch D: The words and music of the opening stanza fitted together by the editor. Butterworth spelled the informant's name 'Lockly' and 'Lockley'.

Roud: 987 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six
Laws: O15

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