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MARY OF THE WILD MOOR

(trad./Bob Dylan)
(McKenzie manuscripts)


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"Mary Of The Wild Moore" was credited in 1845 to a Briton, Joseph W. Turner.

Whether he was author or reviser is unclear. The song has shown up all the way from Yorkshire through central and southern England, and from Nova Scotia down the entire east coast of the US, throughout the Mid-West and in parts of the Far West. Its widespread acceptance by traditional singers, and its lack of variation, may be explained by the frequency with which it was printed in British and American broadsides and songsters.

Hedy West & Bill Clifton, liner notes for "Getting Folk Out Of The Country", Bear Family Records 15008, 1972.


Lyrics from the McKenzie manuscripts, Summer 1961;
first transcribed by Chris C. in "Isis", No. 45, Oct-Nov 1992.

Bob Dylan performed this song (with Regina McCrary, vocals/autoharp, Fred Tackett, mandolin)


It was on a cold and windy nite,
When the wind blow across the wild moor.
When Mary came wandering home with her child,
Till she came to her own fathers door.

Father dear father she cried,
Come down and open the door.
For the child in my arms ["rams" in "Isis", No. 45 -- TYPO?] will perish and die
From the winds that blow across the wild moor.

Why did I leave this fair spot,
Where once I was happy and free,
I am now forced to roam without friends or a home,
And no one to take pity on me

But her father was deaf to her cries,
Not a sound of her voice did he hear.
So the watchdog did howl, and the village bells tolled,
And the wind blew..

Oh how the old man must've felt,
When he came to the next morn,
And he found Mary dead but the child still alive,
Closely grasped in his dead mothers arms.

As rage he tore his grey hair.
And his tears down his cheeks they did pour.
When he saw how that nite she had perished and died.
From the wind that blew across the wild moor.

In grief the old man pined away,
And the child to its mother went soon.
And no one they say how lived still.
And the cottage to ruin has gone.

But the villagers point out the spot,
Where the willow pours over the door..
Saying there Mary did once a gay village find,
From the wind that blew across the wild moor.


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