The Streets of Derry

Now after morning there comes an evening
And after the evening another day.
And after false love there comes a true love;
I’ll have you listen now to what I say.

My love he is as fine a young man
As fair as any the sun shone on.
But how to save him I do not know it,
For now he’s got a sentence to be hung.

As he was a-marching through the streets of Derry,
I’m sure he marched up right manfully,
Being much more like a commanding officer
Than a man to die upon a gallows tree.

“What keeps my love, she’s so long a-coming?
Oh, what detains her so long from me?
Or does the think it’s a shame or scandal
To see me die on the gallows tree?”

He looked around and he saw her coming,
As she rode swifter than the wind.
“I let them see that they dare not hang you,
And I’ll crown my love with a bunch of green.”

Traditional

“Streets of Derry”, sung by Irvine, is yet another song from Sam Henry’s collection (H705, “The Dreary Gallows”). It tells the story of a young gentleman who fell in love with a rich lady but her parents did not consent to their marriage and had him condemned to be hanged. But she defied her parents, obtained a pardon from the Queen and married him in the end.

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