42 - Lady Leroy

Words by Traditional
Tune by Traditional

There are various versions of this song, with slightly different narratives. This one features a girl who defies her father's disapproval by secretly buying a ship from him, sailing away with her lover, and winning a sea battle to start a new life together in Boston.

As I was a-walking one morning in June
A-viewing wild flowers, all Nature in bloom
I spied a young couple on Erin’s green shore
They were viewing the ocean where the wild billows roar

He said “Dearest Polly you’re the girl I adore
To be parted from you oh it grieves my heart sore
Your parents are rich love and angry with me
And if I tarry with you, I ruined will be”

So she’s dressed herself up in a suit of men’s clothes
And to her old father immediately goes
She’s purchased a ship and laid down the demand
It was little he knew t’was his own daughter’s hand

She went to her true love and this she did say
“Rise up lovely Johnny, there’s no time to stay”
They’ve hoisted their topsails and hurrahed with joy
And away o’er the ocean sailed the Lady Leroy

When her father found out how he cursed and did swear
He sent for his captain and bid him prepare
For to seek them and find them and their lives destroy
For they ne’er should enjoy his proud Lady Leroy

The captain was pleased with his orders to go
For to seek them and find them like some wandering foe
He spied a fair vessel with her colours let fly
He hailed her and found she was the Lady Leroy

He’s bade them return to old Ireland once more
Or broadside and broadside upon them would pour
These brave Irish heroes have made this reply
“We will never surrender, We’ll conquer or die”

So it’s broadside and broadside each other did pour
And louder and louder the cannons did roar
These brave Irish heroes have gained victory
Hurrah for true lovers - may they always run free

They’ve landed in Boston that city of fame
Of the other ship’s commander I’ll mention no name
Here’s a health to young Polly, long may she enjoy
Her bravest of heroes and her Lady Leroy.