Lily Of The West
When first I came to Louisville, some pleasure there to find
A damsel there from Lexington was pleasing to my mind
Her rosy cheeks, her ruby lips, like arrows pierced my breast
And the name she bore was Flora, the lily of the west.
I courted lovely Flora some pleasure for to find
But she turned unto another man whose sore distressed my mind
She robbed me of my liberty, deprived me of my rest
Then go, my lovely Flora, the lily of the west.
Away down in yonder shady grove, a man of high degree
Conversin' with my Flora there, it seemed so strange to me
And the answer that she gave to him it sore did me oppress
I was betrayed by Flora, the lily of the west.
I stepped up my rival, dagger in my hand
I seized him by the collar, and bodly made him stand
Seing mad by desperation I pierced him to the breast
All this for lovely Flora, the lily of the west.
I had to stand my trial, I had to make my plea
They placed me in the witness box and then commenced on me
Although she swore my life away, deprived me of my rest
Still I love my faithless Flora, the Lily of the west.
- Recording date: 1970
- Released: 1973
Lily of the West"is a traditional Irish folk song, best known today as an American folk song. The American version is about a man who travels to Louisville and falls in love with a woman named Mary, Flora or Molly, the eponymous Lily of the West. He catches Mary being unfaithful to him, and, in a fit of rage, stabs the man she is with, and is subsequently imprisoned. In spite of this, he finds himself still in love with her. In the original version, the Lily testifies in his defense and he is freed, though they do not resume their relationship.
Joan Baez recorded the song in 1961, including it on her second album; her live concerts have frequently included performances of the song well into the 2010s. Bob Dylan, The Chieftains, Bert Jansch - Live At The 12 Bar, Josh Andrews, The Flash Girls, Caroline Groussain, Sheri Kling, Show of Hands, Peter, Paul and Mary (as "Flora"), Mark Knopfler, Crooked Still, Dirty Linen, Branimir Štulić (in Croatian, titled "Usne Vrele Višnje") and Pat Gubler (PG Six) on the album Slightly Sorry (Amish Records 2010) among others. The "Green Mountain Bluegrass Band" does a version of this song as well.