“The Jealous Lover (I) (Florella, Floella) (Pearl Bryan II) (Nell Cropsey II)”

Alternate titles: “The Lone, Lone Valley”; “Down in a Lone Valley”; “The Love Valley”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1903 (Belden)
Keywords: homicide prison jealousy death lover
Found in: US(Ap,MA,MW,NE,Ro,SE,So) Canada(Mar,Newf,Ont)


The jealous lover lures (Florella/Pearl Bryan) into the woods with the promise that they will discuss wedding plans. Once there, he stabs her. When captured, he is imprisoned for life


The antecedents and relationships of this ballad are immensely complex, and cannot be described here. There are many related pieces.

There is some debate over whether the ballad is in fact a "native American" piece. Although most of its present forms are uniquely American, Barry points to a connection with the British piece, "The Murder of Betty Smith." For this song, see e.g. the broadside NLScotland, L.C.Fol.73(126), "Murder of Betty Smith," Robert McIntosh (Glasgow), c.1850.

(Belden also mentions a possible connection to T. H. Bayley's "She Never Blamed Him." This seems a stretch even in the versions where the girl forgives the murderer.)

Given the number of similar songs, the reader is advised to check references under Laws F2, Laws F3, "The Jealous Lover II," etc.

Fuller details on the story of Pearl Bryan may be found in the entry on Pearl Bryan (I) [Laws F2].

Laws breaks this ballad up into three subgroups. F1A is "The Jealous Lover" (Florella, Floella, Blue-Eyed Ella, etc.); F1B is the Pearl Bryan group; F1C is the Nell Cropsey song. I decided to "lump" the songs, however, as they differ in very little except names.

The "Pearl Bryan" versions of this song (Laws F1B) are told from other Pearl Bryan songs by a first verse similar to this:

Way down in yonder valley

There the violets fade and bloom,

There lies our own Pearl Bryan

In a cold and lonesome tomb. - RBW

Peacock is another who believes "this is an American ballad freely based on an English broadside and a sentimental English song by T.H. Bayly called She Never Blamed Him [sic], written in the 1820's and widely popular during the American Civil War." You can read the lyrics of "She Never Blam'd Him, Never," by Thomas Haynes Bayly (1797-1829), on the Library of Congress American Singing: Nineteenth-Century Song Sheets site, digital id as203280. Judge the likelihood for yourself.

Here's a description of "She Never Blam'd Him, Never": He visits and she receives him, vainly trying "to look the same." Though she was dying, only losing him made "her sweet voice ... faulter." She never blamed him for luring her "from the isle where she was born" into "the cold world's cruel scorn." He leaves and "she heard the bugle's sound... and strangers found her Cold and lifeless on the ground."

In any case, T.H. Bayly's name has appeared in this index in connection with other songs [sometimes as Bayley]. What kind of poet writes songs that do pass into tradition? You can find out more about him and his songs in Andrew Lang's _Essays in Little_ - BS

Historical references

Same tune

Cross references



  1. Laws F1, "The Jealous Lover (Florella, Floella) (Pearl Bryan II) (Nell Cropsey II)"
  2. Belden, pp. 324-330, "Florella (The Jealous Love)" (2 full texts plus 7 fragments which may be this piece and references to 9 others, 2 tunes)
  3. Randolph 138, "The Jealous Lover" (7 texts plus 3 excerpts, 4 tunes)
  4. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 158-161, "The Jealous Lover" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 138A)
  5. Eddy 104, "The Murdered Girl" (8 texts, 2 tunes; the D and E texts apparently belong here)
  6. Gardner/Chickering 21, "The Jealous Lover" (1 text plus an excerpts and mention of 2 more, 1 tune)
  7. Creighton-NovaScotia 146, "Sweet Fair Ella" (1 text, 1 tune)
  8. Manny/Wilson 67, "Fair Florella" (1 text, 1 tune)
  9. Doerflinger, pp. 287-288, "The Jealous Lover" (1 text, 1 tune)
  10. BrownII 250, "Florella (The Jealous Lover)" (5 texts plus 7 excerpts, 2 framents, and mention of 9 more; Laws places the "A", "B", "C" (apparently), "H," and "L" texts with F1A and "U" with F1B)
  11. Chappell-FSRA 64, "Nell Cropsey, IV" (1 text plus 2 fradments, 2 tunes, apparently a local adaption to the Nell Cropsey story, for which see Nell Cropsey (I); Chappell's seem to be the only known versions of this adaption)
  12. Fuson, pp. 65-66, "Edward" (1 text, probably this although it has at least hints of the "Willow Garden" versions of "Rose Connolly")
  13. Cambiaire, p. 109, "Pearl Bryant" (1 short text, probably this though it is not long enough to be certain)
  14. MHenry-Appalachians, p. 251, "Fair Ellen" (1 fragment, probably of this family though it's too short to tell)
  15. Brewster 46, "Florella" (3 texts plus mention of 3 more, all of the F1A type though Laws does not list them); 61, "Pearl Bryan" (3 texts plus an excerpt and mention of 3 more; 1 tune; the "C" text is this piece (of the F1B group) while "A" and "B" are Laws F2)
  16. Flanders/Brown, pp. 59-60, "The Fair Flo-ella" (1 text)
  17. Greenleaf/Mansfield 180, "Florella" (1 text)
  18. Peacock, pp. 632-633, "Sweet Florella" (1 text, 1 tune)
  19. Burt, p. 31, "(Pearl Bryan)" (1 stanza)
  20. Leach, pp. 787-789, "Fair Florella or The Jealous Lover" (2 texts)
  21. McNeil-SFB2, pp. 85-87, "Pearl Bryan" (1 text, 1 tune)
  22. Friedman, p. 203, "The Jealous Lover" (1 text)
  23. Combs/Wilgus 63D, pp. 174-175, "Pearl Bryan" (1 text)
  24. Ritchie-SingFam, pp. 137-138, "[Fair Ellen]" (1 text, 1 tune)
  25. Abrahams/Foss, pp. 29-31, "Fair Florella/Pearl Bryan" (1 text plus a fragment, 1 tune)
  26. LPound-ABS, 43, pp. 101-102, "The Jealous Lover"; pp. 102-103, "The Weeping Willow" (2 texts, of which the first is "The Jealous Lover (II)" but the second could well be this)
  27. JHCox 38, "The Jealous Lover" (5 texts plus mentions of three more; of these, Laws identifies D and E as this song, belonging to the Pearl Bryan group)
  28. JHCoxIIB, #5A-B, pp. 130-132, "The Jealous Lover," "Blue-Eyed Ellen" (1 text plus a fragment, 1 tune; the "A" fragment might be this or "The Jealous Lover (II)"; the "B" text is probably the latter)
  29. Darling-NAS, pp. 197-198, "The Jealous Lover" (1 text)
  30. DT, JLSLOVR2*
  31. ADDITIONAL: Fred W. Allsopp, Folklore of Romantic Arkansas, Volume II (1931), p. 204, "(The Jealous Lover)" (1 text)
  32. Roud #500
  33. BI, LF01