I Died For Love is a sad poem about a girl who finds out the boy she loves is cheating on her. It is based on an old English folk song which is known under various titles like The Butcher Boy, A Brisk Young Sailor, A Bold Young Farmer and I Wish My Baby Was Born.
In the city where I did dwell
Lived a butcher boy I loved so well
He courted me, stole my heart away
But now with me, he will not stay
There is an alehouse in this town
I followed him there and he sat down.
Another girl sat on his knee,
He told her things he won’t tell me.
And now I know the reason why,
She is more beautiful than I.
But pretty looks, they fade so fast
And she’ll become like me at last
There is a bird in yonder tree,
Some say it’s blind and cannot see,
I wish that I had been the same,
Before I fell for love’s foolish game.
I wish, I wish, I wish in vain
I wish I was a maid again
But a maid again I’ll never be
Until cherries grow on an apple tree
And on this cold September morn,
I wish my baby it was born
And smiling on its daddy’s knee
While the long green grass grows over me
I went upstairs to go to bed
And not a word to my mother said
My worried mother came upstairs too
“Oh Daughter Dear, what troubles you?”
Oh Mother Dear, how can you know
The pain and grief inside me grow
Oh, what a wretched fool I am
To lose my heart to a blue-eyed man.
At every word I dropped a tear
As I recalled my love so dear.
Oh, what a foolish girl was I
To be led astray by a butcher boy.
My father came home late that night,
And found the house without a light.
He went upstairs, the door he broke
He found me hanging from a rope.
“Oh God! Oh God! What have you done?
Gave up your life for a butcher’s son.”
He took his knife to cut me down
And on my breast, this note he found:
Oh, dig my grave and dig it deep
Place white lillies at my feet
And at my head, a snow-white dove
To show the world I died for love.