Coll. by M.C. Parler Mr. W.M. Mattison
Prairie Grove, Ark. Jan. 1, 1960
Reel 332, Item 1
A damsel dwelt in Colchester,
And there a clothier courted her,
For six months time, both night and day,
And still the damsel said him Nay.
She said, Were I to love inclined,
Perhaps you soon would change your mind;
And court another damsel fair And leave poor Kate unto despair.
He many a protestation made,
And like a loyal lover said,
There's none but you shall be my bride,
The joy and comfort of my life.
But see the cursed fruits of gold:
He left his loyal love; behold,
In grief and sorrow compassed round,
He a greater fortune found.
A lawyer's daughter, rich and bright,
Her parents joy and whole delight,
He was resolved she'd be his spouse,
Denying all his former vows.
Now when poor Kate she came to hear,
That she must lose her only dear,
Some sport of him she thought she'd make All for the lawyer's daughter's sake.
To a tanner's she did go,
And borrowed there a long black robe,
The crooked horns both long and wide,
And when with she was arrayed in,
Kate knew the trick she would begin.
Kate to a lonesome field did stray,
By chance the clothier came that way,
And he was sorely scared at her,
She looked so like old Lucifer.
Then with a loud and surly note,
She quickly seized him by the throat Saying, You have left poor Kate, I hear,
And court a lawyer's daughter dear.
-more-Reel 332, Item 1, Continued
Well, since you proved so false to her,
You perjured knave of Colchester,
You shall, whether you will or no,
Down to my gloomy regions go.
These words they sorely frightened him,
So that he trembled in every limb,
Saying, Mr. Devil, let me go,
And I'll fulfill my former vow.
See that you do, the Devil cried,
And make poor Kate your lawful bride,
If she against you does complain,
You quick shall hear from me again.
He went to Kate and married her,
For fear of that old Lucifer,
Kate's friends and parents thought it strange, That there was such a sudden change.
Kate never let her parents know,
Nor any other friend or foe,
Until one year she had married been,
She told it at a thanksgiving.
Hit pleased the people to the heart,
They told Kate she had played her part,
Her husband laughed as well as they,
'Twas then a glad and a merry day.This is a small collection of songs which I have learned in the past few months while in a class on Arkansas Folklore at the University of Arkansas under the instruction of M. C. Parler. These songs I also recorded for Miss Parler on a tape.
I learned the words to the first six, as they appear in this folder, from an old ballad book which had belonged to Flora Hatfield of Alabam, Arkansas.
The ballad book was simply an old writing tablet with a few songs written in by hand in pencil. It now belongs to Carrie Bohannan of Alabam, who loaned it to me long enough for me to learn a few of the songs.
I learned the tune of the songs from Flora's son,
Tom Hatfield, after several sessions with him. He sang some of the words a little different than they appear in the original ballad book, so I learned them the way he sang them. He was more than glad to sing the songs for me and help me to learn them. Tom lives on a farm near Alabam now.
The last two songs which appear in this folder I learned from my father, Elmer Walker, who lives in the Rose Hill community. Rose Hill is just off of highway 21 and on Dry Fork Creek about half way between Huntsville and Berryville, Arkansas. I remember hearing him sing these two songs, among others, so one week end I went and stayed all night with him and got him to sing a little and tell a few tales.
Then, the next time I went to see him I took the guitar and french-harp. He likes to play the harp, so this time I got him started singing and he finely put these two together for me.
Dad told me that his grandfather used to sit around the fireplace and sing those old songs for hours and never sing the same one twice, but he couldn't remember how any of them went. He thought his mother might be able to remember some of them, so one Sunday he and I went to see her only to find that she had forgotten all of them, or at least, we we couldn't get her to sing any of them.
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