“Doctor Stafford and the Weaver's Daughter”

Alternate titles: “The Weaver's Dochter”; “The Rocks o' Penn”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1828 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 28(185))
Keywords: love death healing doctor ghost
Found in: Canada(Mar)

Description

A weaver's daughter loves Dr Stafford. He is called to her death bed and says they will marry if she survives. He stays with her eight weeks, but she dies. The neighbors say her ghost haunts him. He ends in Bedlam. Her spirit comes to save him.

Notes

The first line varies, yielding titles based upon where the weaver's daughter walks. For example, just from the Bodleian broadsides:

"One evening as I walk'd by the rocks of Mile End"

"One day was I was walking down by the banks of Clyde"

"One ev'ning as I walked down by the rock of Mache"

"One evening as I walked, by the rocks of Mile"

"One evening as I walked down by the rocks of Myle"

Lyle has "One day as I was walking To view my father's land."

Manny/Wilson has "As I walked out one evening Down by the rocky mull"

Manny Wilson's text is confused so the description is based on broadside Bodleian Harding B 28(185).

There seems an assumption by the neighbors that the inexperienced Dr Stafford -- he is Dr Richardson's apprentice -- is responsible for her death. [Indeed, in glancing at one version, I thought they were hinting he poisoned her. - RBW] This seems not to be the case. The last that the weaver's daughter says is "All goodness be my darling's guide, he's the boy I lov'd so dear."

After her death he claims that, of all his women "the weaver's daughter lov'd me best, she died in love for me." When the neighbors claim she haunts him he says they were all liars "for she laid no blame on me." Confined in Bedlam "quite bereft of his senses,? "Her spirit came unto him saying young man revive, For I never was ordained to be your wedded wife." - BS

Broadsides

References

  1. Manny/Wilson 97, "The Weaver's Daughter" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #3868
  3. BI, MaWi097