Undaunted Mary
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


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Lyrics
William Barrett collected this song from a member of the crew of a schooner during a trip in 1877. His note states that it was "printed by all the balladmongers in the kingdom." It is also known as The Banks of the Sweet Dundee.

Cecil Sharp collected several versions in the Applachian Mountains and the song appears in collections of ballads from Nova Scotia.

It's of a farmer's daughter,
So beautiful I'm told,
Her parents died and left her
Five hundred pounds in gold
She lived with her uncle,
The cause of all her woe,
And you shall hear this maiden fair
Did prove his overthrow.

Her uncle had a ploughboy
Young Mary loved full well,
And in her uncle's garden
Their tales of love would tell
And there was a wealthy squire
Who oft came her to see,
But still she loved her ploughboy
On the banks of sweet Dundee.

It was one summer's morning
Her uncle went straightway,
He knocked at her bedroom door,
And thus to her did say-
Come, rise up, pretty maiden,
A lady you may he,
The squire's waiting for you
On the banks of sweet Dundee.

A fig for all your squires,
Your lords and dukes likewise,
My William's hand appears
To sue like diamonds in my eyes.
Begone unruly female,
You ne'er shall happy be,
For I mean to banish William
From the banks of sweet Dundee.

Her uncle and the squire
Rode out one summer's day;
Young William he's in favour,
Her uncle he did say
Indeed 'tis my intention
To tie him to a tree,
Or else to bribe the press-gang
On the banks of sweet Dundee.

The press-gang came to William
When he was all alone,
He boldly fought for liberty,
But they were three to one
The blood did flow in torrents-
Come, kill me now said he,
I would rather die for Mary
On the banks of sweet Dundee.

This maid was one day walking,
Lamenting for her love,
She met the wealthy squire
Down in her uncle's grove
He put his arms around her;
Stand off, base man, said she
You sent the only lad I love
From the banks of sweet Dundee.

He clasped his arms around her,
And tried to throw her down,
Two pistols and a sword she spied
Beneath his morning gown.
Young Mary took the weapons,
His sword he used so free,
But she did fire, and shot the squire
On the banks of sweet Dundee.

Her uncle overheard the noise,
He hasten'd to the ground
Since you have killed the squire,
I'll give you your death-wound;
Stand off, then, said young Mary
Undaunted I will be.
The trigger she drew, and her uncle slew,
On the banks of sweet Dundee.

The doctor soon was sent for,
A man of noted skill,
Likewise came his lawyer,
For him to make his will.
He will'd his gold to Mary,
Who fought so manfully,
And now she lives quite happy
On the banks of sweet Dundee.

Related Links
From English Folk-Songs
See Bibliography for full information.