King Laoghaire - Irish Ballads & Tunes

The Queen's Maries

Trad

Yestre'en the Queen had four Marys
Tonicht she'll hae but three
There was Mary Seaton and Mary Beaton
Mary Carmichael and me

Oh little did my mother think
The day she cradled me
The lands I was tae travel in
The death I was tae die

Oh tie a napkin round my e'en
No let me see to die
And send nae word tae my dear mother
Who's far awa' o'er the sea

But I wish I could lie in oor ain kirk yard
Beneath yon old oak tree
Where we pulled the rowans
And strung the gowans
My brothers and sisters and me

Yestre'en the Queen had four Marys
Tonicht she'll hae but three
There was Mary Seaton and Mary Beaton
Mary Carmichael and me

But why should I fear a nameless grave
When I've hopes for eternity?
And I'll pray that the faith o' dying quick
Be given through grace to me

Yestre'en the Queen had four Marys
Tonicht she'll hae but three
There was Mary Seaton and Mary Beaton
Mary Carmichael and me
There was Mary Seaton and Mary Beaton
Mary Carmichael and me

Mary Hamilton was supposedly one of the "four Marys" who were ladies-in-waiting to Mary, Queen of Scots. However, the name of Mary Hamilton does not appear in any official records of the time. The Marys that attended the Queen in France were Seton, Beaton, Fleming and Livingston.

Other versions of this ballad (circa 1563) have Mary bearing an illegitimate child as a result of an affair with Lord Darnley, the Queen's husband. She drowns the baby and is subsequently hanged for her crime.


On This Day

in 2007:

Tommy Makem, known as The Bard of Armagh, dies following a lengthy battle with lung cancer at his home in Dover, New Hampshire.

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