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OMIE WISE

(trad.)


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This murder ballad (related in theme to "Banks of the Ohio" and "The Lone Green Valley") recalls the murder of Naomi Wise by her lover Jonathan Lewis in Deep River, Randolph County, NC, in 1808.

A romantic and moralistic article by "Charlie Craven" (pseudonym for Braxton Craven, president of Trinity College, Randolph County, NC) appeared in the Greensboro "Patriot"; a version of the ballad "Poor Naomi" was printed along with the Craven article in the Apr 29, 1874 issue.


Lyrics as performed by Bob Dylan on RIVERSIDE CHURCH FOLK MUSIC HOOTENANNY, WRVR-FM, NEW YORK, NY, Jul 29, 1961;
transcribed by Manfred Helfert.


She promised to meet him
At Adams's Spring;
Expecting some money,
Or some other fine thing.

No money, no money,
To flatter the case.
"We'll have to get married,
So there'll be no disgrace."

"She jump you up, Omie,
And away we will ride.
To yonder fair country
And I'll make you my bride."

She jumped up behind him,
And away they did go
To yonder far country
Where the deep waters flow.

"Now, jump you down, Omie,
And I'll tell you my mind.
My mind is to drown you
And to leave you behind."

"Oh, no, oh, no,
Please don't take my life,
Oh, I will deny you
And I'll not be your wife."

Well, he kicked and he cuffed her
To the worst understand
And he threw her in deep water
That flows through the land.

They found her poor body
The following day
Run up on the river
Down the banks full of clay.

And up spoke her mother
With a voice such a-sting,
"No one but John Lewis
Could have done such a thing."

They traced him up the river
To Dutch Charlie's Bend,
For they found him in jail
For killin' a man.

"Go hang him, go hang him,"
Was her mother's command,
"Throw him in deep water
That flows through the land."

"Go hang him, go hang him,"
Was the judge's command,
"Throw him in deep water
That flows through the land."


Lyrics as performed by Bob Dylan on the MINNESOTA HOTEL TAPE, Dec 22, 1961;
transcribed by Manfred Helfert.


Is the recording now...? Oh, it is.

Well, she met him as promised
At Adams's Spring;
Expecting some money,
Or some other fine things.

No money, no money,
To flatter the case.
"We'll have to get married,
So there'll be no disgrace."

"She jump you up, Omie,
And away we will ride.
To yonder fair country
Where the cool waters glide."

She jumped up behind him,
And away they did ride
To yonder fair country
Where the deep waters glide.

"Now, jump you down, Omie,
And I'll tell you my mind.
My mind is to drown you
And to leave you behind."

She begged and she pleaded,
"Oh, don't take my life,
And I will deny you
And I'll not be your wife."

There she kicked, and he cuffed her
To the worst understand
And he threw her in deep water
That flows through the land.

They found her poor body
The following day.
The preacher and the reverend,
Lord, they all begun to pray.

And up spoke her mother
With a voice so a-sting,
"Nobody but John Lewis
Could have done such a thing."

They traced him up the waters
To Dutch Charlie's Bend,
Put him in jail
For killin' a man.

"Go hang him, go hang him,"
Was that mother's command,
"And throw him in deep waters
That flows through the lands."


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