Charming Molly, I do love thee,
There's no other I adore;
Pierced by your beauteous eyes,
My heart transfixed lies,
Say, dearest Molly, you'll be mine for ever more.
Constant Johnny I reject thee,
I thy fruitless suit deplore,
Your love I do decline,
I will be no love of thine
No Johnny, Constant Johnny, ne'er I'll see thee more.
Canst thou see young Johnny bleeding
Down in Cupid's rosy bower,
See his transfixed heart,
Full of grief and full of smart,
Say, dearest Molly, thou'lt be mine for ever more.
Now the lovers are united,
Fast in wedlock's chains secure,
Happy as the livelong day,
Often she to him doth say,
O! Johhny, dearest Johnny, now we part no more.
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Source: Songs of the West, S Baring Gould
Baring Gould notes:
Words and melody taken down form Roger Luxton. It was a dialogue, and so Mr Sheppard had arranged it. Such lover dialogues are and were very commonly sung in farmhouses. Ravenscroft gives one in broad Devonshire in his "Brief Discourse", 1614, entitled, "Hodge Trellindle and his Zweetthart Malkyn". Our ballad seems to be based on "Doubtful Robin and Constant Nanny", circ. 1680 in the "Roxburgh Ballads".
These dialogue songs between a lover and his lass were very popular. Addison in The Guardian of 1713, gives snatches of a West Country ballad of this kind, and shows how vastly superior it is to the pastorals of Dresden china shepherds and shepherdesses of Pope and Phillips.
Roud: 1702 (Search Roud index at VWML)