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Lily of the West, The - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

The Lily of the West, a classic song about an unfaithful woman, is certainly more than one hundred years old. It has been recorded by Bob DylanJoan BaezThe ChieftansPeter Paul and Mary and Mark Knopfler amongst others.This version of the song is set in the American West, but there are also versions of the lyrics from Ireland (in which the heroine's name is Molly, not Flora) and from the West of England. See this excellent article for an English Broadside version of the ballad.

Chords

Capo at 8th Fret

           Em                    G      D

When first I came to Louisville,

           C                           Em
Some pleasure there to find,

    G                                         D
A damsel there from Lexington

        C                        Em
Was pleasing to my mind;

       G                                   D
Her rosy cheeks, her ruby lips

        C                               Em
Like arrows pierced my breast;

              Em                             G    D
And the name she bore was Flora,

       C                Em
The Lily of the West.

Lyrics

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.
The name she bore was Flora
The Lily of the West.


I courted lovely Flora
And to her I was so kind,
But she went to another man
It nearly wrecked my mind.
She robbed me of my freedom,
Deprived me of my rest
Betrayed was I by Flora,
The Lily of the West.

He met her in a shady grove,
This man of high degree
I saw him kiss my Flora
And it sure did things to me.
She told me he was just a friend,
But still I was depressed,
Betrayed was I by Flora,
The Lily of the West.

I stepped up to my rival,
With my dagger in my hand
I seized him by the collar,
it's not hard to understand,
That, blinded by my jealousy,
I pierced him in the breast.
Betrayed was I by Flora,
The Lily of the West.

The trial was held, I made my plea
But 'twas of no avail,
Now I await the hangman
In a stinkin' rotten jail.
But though I give my all away
And though my life is messed,
I love my faithless Flora,
The Lily of the West.

Other American Folk Songs
Other Traditional Folk Songs


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