Mary Celestia Parler;
October 2, 1954
Reel 212, Item 1
Down by the shore of the sounding sea
Was the humble home of Lily Lea,
And over the deep and the stormy waves
Went sailing her love far beneath the grave.
It was diamonds to gather, diamonds and gold,
Over the waters clear and cold,
Forsakin' her love that was rich and warm,
For the howling beat and the blast of the storm.
Oh, she was young and he was poor,
Those evil minds this thing endure,
Their future to God they did not trust,
They wanted it all in the golden dust.
She stood on the bank with a quivering lip,
And watched and wept for the sailing ship,
She watched and sighed till it faded away
into a bank of a desolate gray.
He sailed away, and away, away,
Farther and farther, day by day,
He was only thinking of his diamonds and gold,
And the joys they'd bring him when he got old.
He sailed away, and away he went,
saying, "I will never repent,
The earth and the sea will give up their dead
Before I'll return without treasures' end."
Oftimes he had scary dreams at night,
He'd see a terrible flickering light,
A coffin a-drifting about in the sea,
And on it the name of Lily Lea.
"Why need such visions trouble my mind?
For, say, she's walking sure behind,
it never could have been arranged
For a corpse, a shroud, in such a state."
Reel 212, Item 1, con't.
He watched his gains, his fight was o'er,
Was rich estate on the bounding shore,
To fly away to her beloved cot,
But he found it a abandoned, desolate spot.
There was holes in the walls, the floors were cracked,
The doors unhinged, and the roof was wracked,
The bats and the owls winged swift by his ear,
A-hooting and screaming, "Not here, not here."
All through a meadow and a field,
A spring of clover he did yield,
A pleasant churchyard was lying in his way,
All covered with flowers in the month of May.
Twenty graves he had already passed,
When suddenly he stopped with a moan and a gasp,
He fell to his knees with a gasp and a moan,
Before him a name was on a marble stone.
He wiped his eyes from a single tear,
But still those letters, they were here,
He read them again, but what could he see?
Just "Sweet Remembrance of Lily Lea."
Too late, too late, with your diamonds and gold,
Her heart is ashes and her love is cold,
He said, "The grave is the woe of me,
Alas, alas, I've drowned 'em in the sea."
MCP: Where'd you learn that song?
CV: Well, I learned that song when I was just barely
old enough to sing a song. It was about the very
first song I learned to sing.
MCP: Do you know who taught it to you?
CV: Yes, there was an old lady that— she's already
left us now. Aunt Kate, we called her, and she
had a step-daughter that they named Lily Lea after
this song. And I imagine Lily Lea is now— well,
she probably wouldn't want me to tell her age— but
it does make the song pretty old.
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