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John Renfro Davis
|This tune appears in a collection by George Petrie (1855).
This version was sung by Patrick Heaney from Galway, Ireland circa 1937. The single line melody is in Kennedy's Folk Songs of Britain and Ireland (see below for reference).
Variants include All Around My Hat, Here's a Health to All True Lovers (aka The Orange and the Blue), The Bark and The Tree (Ireland), The Unconstant Lover (Scotland), The Awful Wedding (America), The Faultless Bride (America) and The Love Token (America). In addition variants are found in Newfoundland.
I once was invited to a nobleman's wedding
And all that were there were to sing just one song
The first one to sing was the bride's former lover
The song that he sang was of days that were gone.
How can you sit at another man's table
How can you drink of another man's wine
How can you lie on another man's pillow
You being so long a true-love of mine?
The bride she was seated at the head of the table
Hearing those words she remembered so well
Verse after verse, she could bear it no longer
Till down at the foot of the table she fell.
One request, one request, from you that I'm asking
The first and the last, this favour shall be
And that is the first night to lie with my mother
All the rest of my days I will lie beside thee.
Sighing and sobbing, she arose from the table
Sighing and sobbing, she went to her bed
Early next morning when her husband awakened
He went to 'brace her and found she was dead.
O Molly, lovely Molly, cruel-hearted Molly
I loved you better than you'll ever love me
But I stole you away from your true-lover Johnny
It's then I separated the bark from the tree.
From Folksongs of Britain and Ireland
See Bibliography for full information.