John Reilley, Lyric Variant 06


“John Reilley, Lyric Variant 06,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed May 24, 2024,

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John Reilley, Lyric Variant 06


This item is part of the I. G. Greer Folksong Collection which consists of more than 300 individual song titles and their variants as collected by Isaac Garfield Greer (1881-1967) from informants, primarily in Ashe, Wilkes and Watauga counties. The collection includes manuscripts, typescript transcriptions produced by Dr. Greer’s clerical staff, and handwritten musical notations. Songs range from traditional Child Ballads, traditional English and Scottish ballads as well as their American variants, to 19th century popular music to musical compositions of local origin.


Ballads, English
Ballads, Irish
Courtship--Songs and music
Homecoming--Songs and music
Sailors--Songs and music
Love--Songs and music

Alternative Title

John Reilly, George Reilly, John Riley, John Riley's Courtship, George Riley, The Constant Damsel


W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University


Greer, I. G. (Isaac Garfield), 1881-1967








John Reilly

As I walked out one morning early
All for to take the sweet Morning air,
'Twas there I spied a young Irish lady
Who seemed to me like diamonds fair.

I stepped up to her and kindly asked her
If she would be a young sailor's wife.
“Oh no,” said she, “ I will not marry,
I prefer to live a single life”.

Oh, what's the reason that youv won't marry ?
You differ from all female kind,
For you are young, both fair and handsome,
And sure to get married your mind's inclined.

“I could have been married to one John Reilly,
I could have been married three years ago,
But he has left me and crossed the ocean,
And he was the cause of my overthrow”.

“Do leave John Reilly and do disdain him,
And go with me to some foreign shore.
And we'll sail over to California,
And bid adieu to Reilly ever more.”

“I will not go with you to California,
I will not go with you to some foreign shore,
My heart's with Reilly, and ne'er can leave him,
Although I see him never more.”

And when he found that her love was loyal,
He gave her kisses, both one , two, and three,
Saying, “I'm the man you call John Reilly,
And I have come for to marry thee ! “

Scholarly Classification

Brown, Older Ballads - Mostly British - 93 Randolph, 56 Cox, 95

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