Common Bill, Lyric Variant 01


“Common Bill, Lyric Variant 01,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed July 1, 2022,

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Common Bill, Lyric Variant 01


One leaf typewritten and handwritten in pencil on the front side. The document is in good physical condition. The document was laminated. The lower right corner was folded into the laminate. There is a paper clip rust stain at the upper left corner. There is a paper clip-related tear at the upper left corner. There is a moderate tear at the upper left edge. There is a minor tear at the lower right edge. There is some significant staining of unknown origin on the lower half of the document. There is minor staining of unknown origin throughout the document. The document was folded both horizontally and vertically into eighths, possibly for mailing. There is a "3" handwritten in pencil at the upper left corner.


Ballads, English Courtship -- Songs and music Nonsense songs

Alternative Title

Silly Billy


W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University

Date Created



I. G. Greer


The images and audio files contained in the "So Mote It Ever Be: The Folksong Heritage of North Carolina's Northern Blue Ridge Mountains" collection are available for free personal, non-commercial, and educational use, provided that proper citation is used (e.g. I. G. Greer/W. Amos Abrams Manuscript Files Series, Folksong Files Subseries. W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection. Special Collections. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC). Any commercial use of the materials without the written permission of Appalachian State University is strictly prohibited. Please contact the Appalachian State University W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection with specific questions or with requests for further information.






Typescript, Manuscript


Common Bill

I’m in love with a fellow, a fellow you have seen,
Who is neither white nor yellow, but is altogether green
His name is not so charming-- it is only common Bill,
He asked me to wed him, but I hardly think I will.

He whispers of devotion, devotion pure and deep,
It sounds so mighty silly that I almost fall asleep.
He thinks it would be pleasant as we journey down the hill,
To go hand in hand together, but I hardly think I will.


He tells me of a cottage among the grass and trees,
And don’t you think that fellow tumbled down upon his knees,
The tears the creature wasted was enough to turn a mill,
He asked me for wed him, but I hardly think I will.


He came last night to see me and made so long a stay
I began to think the blockhead would never go away.
At first I learned to hate him, and I know I’ll hate him still,
He asked me to wed him, but I hardly think I will.


I’m sure I would not choose him if it were in my power,
But he said if I refused him, he could not live an hour.
Now you know the Bible teaches it is very wrong to kill,
So I thought the matter over and I ‘spect I’ll marry Bill.

Poor Bill, poor silly Bill,
He urges me to marry him,
But I hardly think I will.

Classification Title

Common Bill, Lyric Variant 01

Document Title

Common Bill

Scholarly Classification

Brown, Older Ballads - 195 Randolph, 119

Dimensions - Original

215 mm x 277 mm

Upload Date


File name


Transcription Date


Transcribed By

Paul L. Robertson

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