Breedloves's Folk Songs


Like many traditional songs, the origins of “Handsome Molly” are undocumented and
difficult to trace. Musicologists have traced similarities with traditional Irish ballads from
“Farewell Ballymoney” family of songs including “Irish Girl”, “Lovely Molly”, “Loving
Hannah”, “Dark-Eyed Molly”, and “Going to Mass Last Sunday.” Other’s argue that its
orgins are from the Scottish Traditions. Clearly is it in the Celtic tradition. The song is a
popular ballad with many known artists having recorded it including: Bob Dylan, Jerry
Garcia, Tim O’Brien, Doc Watson, Stanley Brothers, Flatt and Scruggs and quite
interestingly, Mick Jagger.
Well I wish was in London
Or some other seaport town
I’d set my foot in a steamboat
And sail the ocean round
I’d sail around the ocean
I’d sail around the sea
I’d think of Handsome Molly
Wherever she may be
Her hair was black as a Raven’s
Her eyes bright as coal
Her teeth shown like lilies
Out in the morning cold
Now don’t you remember Molly
When you gave me your right hand
You said if you ever married
That I would be your man
I rode to church last Sunday
As she passed me on by
I knew her mind was changin’
By the rovin’ of her eye
Now you’ve broke your promise
Go home with whom you please
While my poor heart is aching
You’re lyin’ at your ease

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