Mentioned by Bob Dylan in in "For Dave Glover," this traditional (a variant of British broadside "Murder of Betsy Smith," early 19th century) seems to have been part of Dylan's early repertoire. No recording in circulation.
The song is obviously related in theme to "OMIE WISE" and "BANKS OF THE OHIO."
WOODY GUTHRIE used the tune for his own "PHILADELPHIA LAWYER" (aka "RENO BLUES"), 1937.
A woman in Mississippi in 1929 confessed to a murder by mailing the Governor of the State an adaptation of this song. Found in Maritime Canada, New England, South, Midwest.
ALAN LOMAX, The Folk Songs of North America, New York, NY, 1960, p. 93. Lyrics as reprinted ibid. (song #47).
Way down in a lone green valley
Down where the roses bloom and fade,
There was a jealous lover
In love with a beautiful maid.
One night the moon shone brightly,
The stars were shining, too,
And to this maiden's cottage
The jealous lover drew.
"Come, love, and we will wander,
Where the woods are gay,
While strolling, we will ponder
Upon our wedding day."
So on and on they wandered,
The night birds sang above,
The jealous lover grew angry
With the beautiful girl he loved.
Down on her knees before him
She pleaded for her life;
But deep into her bosom
He plunged the fatal knife.
"O Willie, won't you tell me
Why have you taken my life?
You know I've always loved you,
And wanted to be your wife.
I never have deceived you,
But with my dying breath,
I will forgive you, Willie,
And close my eyes in death."