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Through Moofields and to Bedlam I went;
I heard a young damsel to sigh and lament;                                  
She was wring-ing of her hands and tearing of her hair,
Crying "Oh cruel parents! you have been too severe.

You've banished my truelove o'er the seas away,
Which causes me in Bedlam to sigh, and to say
That your cruel, base actions cause me to complain,
For the loss of my dear has distracted my brain."

When the silk-mercer first came on shore,
As he was passing by Bedlam's door,
He head his truelove lamenting full sore,
Saying, "Oh! I shall never see him any more!"

The mercer, hearing that, he was struch with surprise,
When he saw through the window her beautiful eye;
He ran to the porter the truth for to tell,
Saying, "Show me the way to the joy of my soul!"

And when that his darling jewel he did see
He took her, and sat her all on his knee,
Say she "Are you the young man my father sent to sea,
My own dearest jewel, for loving of me?"

Oh yes! I'm the man that your father sent to sea,
Your own dearest jewel, for loving of thee!"
"Then adieu to my sorrows, for they are now all fled,
Adieu to these chains, and likewise this straw bed!"

They sent for her parents, who came then with speed;
They went to the church, and were married indeed.
So all you wealthy parents, do a warning take,
And never strive true lovers their promises to break.


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Source: Broadwood, L, 1908, English Traditional Songs and Carols, London, Boosey

Sung by Mr H. Burstow, 1893.

Lucy Broadwood wrote:

Pitt, the ballad-printer, published very similar words in a penny book (circa 103o), "The Lover's Harmony." His version is evidently taken from a broadside of much earlier date ; it has nine stanzas. The hero is a sailor.

Mad songs were the fashion in the 17th and 18th centuries. For further notes, and traditional examples, see Journal of the Folk Song Society, Vol. ii., p. 326 [Subject Index, " Madness "], and Vol. iii., p.  111 ; also " Bedlam City" and "The Loyal Lover"   in English County Songs." "The Loyal Lover" is a curtailed version of a lengthy broadside called "Bedlam Walks." Giordani set "Bedlam Walks" to music which has absolutely nothing in common with the traditional airs above quoted. The old Bethlem Hospital was removed from Bishopsgate Without to Moorfields, in 1675, and was again removed in 1814. The tune here given was noted by Mr. Buttifant, late organist of Horsham Parish Church, in 1893, and is faithfully accurate to the version

then sung by Mr. Burstow, as heard by the editor.The variants printed show the alterations made by the same singer, and recorded by phonograph in 1907, after an interval of fourteen years.

Roud: 605 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six

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