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The Cruel Miller

This song relates to events around 1684, possibly in the area around Oxford or Reading, England.
This version of the song dates from 1813.
The tune is from Ireland.

    My parents educated, good learning gave to me.
    They bound me to a miller, with which I did agree.
    Till I fell a-courting a pretty maid with a black and roving eye.
    I told her I would marry her, if she with me would lie.

    I courted her for six long months, a little now and then,
    I was ashamed to marry her, I being so young a man,
    Till at length she proved with child by me, and aloud to me did cry,
    Saying, Johnny dear, come marry me, or else for you I'll die.

    I went unto her sister's house at eight o'clock at night,
    And little did this fair maid think I owed her much in spite.
    I asked her if she'd take a walk, all in the meadows gay,
    And there to sit and talk a while about our wedding day.

    I took a stick out of the hedge and struck her to the ground,
    And soon the blood of innocence come raining from the wound.
    She on her bended knees did fall and loud for mercy cried,
    Saying, Johnny dear, don't murder me, but think of our poor child.

    I took her by her yellow locks and dragged her through the glen,
    Until I came to a river's side, and there I threw her in.
    Now with the blood of innocence my hands and clothes were dyed,
    Instead of being a breathless corpse she might have been my bride.

    Arriving at my master's house at twelve o'clock at night,
    My master rose and let me in by striking of a light.
    He asked me, and questioned me, what stained my hands and clothes,
    The answer that I had for him was the bleeding of my nose.

    I wishfully upon him looked, but very little said,
    And snatched the candle from his hand, and straight went to my bed,
    And all of that long night no comfort could I find,
    For the burning flames of torment before my eyes did shine.

    All in a few days after, my true love she was missed.
    I was taken on suspicion, and into prison cast.
    Her sister prosecuted me, for reason and for doubt,
    Because that very evening we had been walking out.

    All in a few days after, my true love she was found,
    A-floating by her brother's door, who lives in Wexford town,
    Where the judge and the jury both quickly did agree,
    For murdering of my true love, that hanged I'm to be.

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