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The Southern Girl’s Reply

[ Roud 7484 ; Ballad Index Wa156 ; DT STHREPLY ; Mudcat 151020 ; trad.]

Anne and Frank Warner collected The Southern Girl’s Reply from Eleazar Tillett on the Outer Banks, North Carolina, in 1941. They printed it in their 1984 book Traditional American Folk Songs. Eleazar Tillett’s singing was included in 2000 on the Warners’ Appleseed anthology Nothing Seems Better to Me.

Sara Grey sang The Southern Girl’s Reply in 2002 on her Tradition Bearers album of North American songs and ballads, Boy, She’s a Daisy.

Jeff Warner sang The Southern Girl’s Reply on his 2005 CD Jolly Tinker. He noted:

Anne and Frank Warner, my parents, collected this song from Eleazar Tillett (b. ca. 1875) on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in 1941. As far as we know, it is the only time this song has been found in oral tradition. The tune is the Confederate The Bonny Blue Flag, which, in turn, is the Irish tune The Jaunting Car.

Wendy Arrowsmith sang The Southern Girl’s Reply on her 2011 CD Life, Love and Chocolate.

The Long Hill Ramblers sang The Southern Girl’s Reply on their 2014 EP Downs Barn Demo and on their 2014 CD Beauty and Butchery.

Dempsey Robson Tweed sang The Southern Girl’s Reply on their 2016 CD Dirt Road.


Jeff Warner sings The Southern Girl’s Reply

I cannot listen to your words, the land’s too far and wide
Go seek some happy Northern girl to be your loving bride.
My brothers they were soldiers, the youngest of the three
Was slain while fighting at the side of General Fitzhugh Lee.

Chorus (after each verse, twice at the end):
Hurrah! Hurrah! For the sunny South I say,
Three cheers for the Southern girl,
And the boy who wore the grey.

My lover was a soldier too, he fought at God’s command,
A sabre pierced his gallant heart, you might have been the man.
He reeled and fell but was not dead, a horseman spurred his steed
And trampled on his dying brain, you might have done the deed.

They left his body on the field, who the fight that day had won,
A horseman spurred him with his heel, you might have been the one.
I hold no hatred in my heart, nor cold nor righteous pride
For many a gallant soldier fought upon the other side.

Now I cannot take the hand, that smote my country sore,
Nor love the one that trampled down the colours that she wore.
Between your heart and mine there rolls a deep and crimson tide,
My brother’s and my lover’s blood forbids me be your bride.