Breedloves's Folk Songs


“Springfield Mountain,” is certainly among the oldest native American ballads still in
folk tradition. It is thought to deal with the death of one Timothy Myrick of Wilbraham,
Massachusetts, formerly Springfield Mountain, who expired from snakebite in
Farmington, Connecticut, August 7, 1761. At some point in time the serious ballad
became converted into a comic ballad, so today both traditions exist simultaneously.
Phillips Barry, who made an extensive study of this song, suggests that each of the two
ballad types has several subtypes. He was able to trace the comic ballads back to 1836,
with the serious song only dating back to 1849. G. Malcolm Laws feels that Barry is in
error on this point and suggests that the original ballad was composed locally and soon
after the tragedy it recounts.
On Springfield Mountain there did dwell
A lovely youth I knowed him well.
Too roo de nay, too roo de noo
This lovely youth one day did go
Down to the meadow for to mow.
Too roo de nay, too roo de noo.
He scarce had mowed quite round the field
When a cruel serpent bit his heel.
Too roo de nay, too roo de noo.
They took him home to molly dear
Which made him feel so very queer.
Too roo de nay, too roo de noo.
Now Molly had two ruby lips
With which the poison she did sip.
Too roo de nay, too roo de noo.
Now Molly had a rotting tooth,
And so the poison killed them both.


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