Breedloves's Folk Songs


“The Knoxville Girl” is an Appalachian murder ballad. It is derived from the 19th
century Irish ballad The Wexford Girl, an Irish localization of The Oxford Girl. Other
versions are known as the Waxweed Girl, The Wexford Murder. These are in turn derived
from Elizabethan era poem or broadside ballad, The Cruel Miller”. Although the lyrics
are less explicit than those for “The Wexford Girl”, the song is generally considered to be
creepier or spookier in its rendition.
I met a little girl in Knoxville down beyond the well
And every Sunday evening out in her home I dwelled
We went to take an evening walk about a mile from town
I picked a stick up off the ground and knocked that fair girl down
She fell down on her bended knees for mercy she did cry
“Oh Willard dear don’t kill me here I’m unprepared to die
“She never spoke another word, I only beat her more
Until the ground around me with it her blood did flow
I took her by her golden curls and I drug her round and round
Throwing her into the river that flows through Knoxville town
Go down go down you Knoxville girl with dark and rollin eyes
Go down go down you Knoxville girl you can never be my bride
I started back to Knoxville got there about midnight
My mother she was worried and woke up in a fright
Saying “Dear son what have you done to bloody your clothes so”
I told my anxious mother I was bleeding at my nose
I called for me a candle to light myself to bed
I called for me a handkerchief to bind my aching head
Rolled and tumbled the whole night through as troubles was for me
Like flames of hell around my bed, and in my eyes could see
They carried me down to Knoxville and put me in a cell
My friends all tried to get me out but none could go my bail
I’m here to waste my life away down in this dirty all jail
Because I murdered that Knoxville girl, the girl I loved so well!

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