> Folk Music > Songs > A Maid in Bedlam

A Maid in Bedlam / Abroad As I Was Walking

[ Roud 578 ; Ballad Index ShH41 ; Bodleian Roud 578 ; trad.]

Jacqui McShee and the John Renbourn Group sang A Maid in Bedlam as the title track of their 1977 album, A Maid in Bedlam. The album notes commented:

A Maid in Bedlam is a reworking of an early song in which a black, George Sighous, was in Bedlam for his mad love for an English girl. Taken from a single song sheet with music, c. 1740, called The Black's Lamentation.

Jon Boden sang Maid in Bedlam as the April 20, 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.

Sarah Matthews sang Abroad As I Was Walking as the title track of her 2012 album, As I Was Walking. She commented in her online notes:

I learnt this song during my work with Tim Arthur as musical director for Bold Nelson’s Praise in 2005—thanks Tim and Dave, as I had not come across it before. The sad tale of so many women locked away in Asylums in the good old days.

Keith Kendrick and Sylvia Needham sang Abroad As I Was Walking on their 2018 WildGoose CD Shine On. He noted:

This wonderful version of Bedlam from Book 2 of The Crystal Spring has been part of my personal repertoire since Barry Coope and I sang it in duo around the late 70s. We never recorded it sadly, but I did on my first ever solo recording Me ‘Umble Lot using full accompaniment. More recently, we’ve revisited it here with Sylvia sprinkling her harmonic fairy dust over it and here we are again. Very, very good song.

See also The Loyal Lover which shares the same “I love my love” phrase.

Lyrics

The John Renbourn Group sings A Maid in Bedlam

Abroad as I was walking one evening in the spring
I heard a maid in Bedlam so sweetly for to sing.
Her chain she rattled with her hands and thus replied she:
“I love my love because I know my love loves me.

“Oh my cruel parents are being too unkind,
They drove and punish me and trouble my mind.
For though I'm ruined for his love contented will I be
I love my love because I know my love loves me.

“Would I become a swallow ascend into the air,
And if I lost my lover and could not find him there.
I quickly would become a fish and search the flowing sea,
I love my love because I know my love loves me.

“With straw I'll make a garland and dress it very fine,
I'll mix the wame with roses lily pink and tyne.
I will preserve it for my love when he returns from sea,
I love my love because I know my love loves me.”

Just as she was sadly weeping her love came on the land,
Hearing she was in Bedlam he ran straight out of hand.
And as he entered into the gates he heard her sigh and say:
“I love my love because I know my love loves me.”

He stood and gazed on her hearing his love complain,
He could not stand any longer he bled in every vein.
He flew in to her snowy white arms and thus replied he:
“I love my love because I know my love loves me.”