Rejected Lover, The [Laws P10]

DESCRIPTION: The girl tells the singer not to return; she prefers freedom to marriage. She later changes her mind; he is no longer interested. She warns others against her mistake
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1915 (Brown)
KEYWORDS: courting rejection loneliness
FOUND IN: Ireland US(Ap,MW,SE)
REFERENCES (16 citations):
Laws P10, "The Rejected Lover"
Cox/Hercog/Halpert/Boswell-WVirginia-B, #15, pp. 155-156, "You Can't Come Again" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gainer-FolkSongsFromTheWestVirginiaHills, pp. 120-121, "The Rejected Lover" (1 text, 1 tune, although most of the lyrics float)
Boette-SingaHipsyDoodle, p. 66, "The Two Lovers" (1 text, 1 tune, probably this although the recording was imperfect and the song incomplete); p. 159, "The Rejected Lover" (1 text, 1 tune, Gainer's floating-lyrics text)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore2 91, "Servant Man" (1 text)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore4 91, "Servant Man" (1 excerpt, 1 tune)
Lomax/Lomax-OurSingingCountry, pp. 139-140, "Do Come Back Again" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fuson-BalladsOfTheKentuckyHighlands, p. 145, "You Can't Come Again" (1 short text)
Sharp-EnglishFolkSongsFromSouthernAppalachians 109, "The Rejected Lover" (10 texts, 10 tunes, but version "A" is actually a mishmosh of floaters including "Who will shoe..." and "A-roving on a winter's night...")
Gentry/Smith-ASingerAmongSingers, #36, "The Rejected Lover (Once I Courted a Pretty Little Girl)" (1 text, 1 tune, the mixed Sharp text cited above)
Burton/Manning-EastTennesseeStateCollectionVol2, pp. 50-51, "My Lost Love" (1 text, 1 tune)
Peters-FolkSongsOutOfWisconsin, p. 136, "Once I Knew a Little Girl" (1 text, 1 tune, with gender roles reversed and many floating lyrics)
Darling-NewAmericanSongster, pp. 136-137, "The Rejected Lover" (1 text)
Henry/Huntingdon/Herrmann-SamHenrysSongsOfThePeople H589, p. 344, "The Rejected Lover" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: James P. Leary, Compiler and Annotator, _Wisconsin Folklore_ University of Wisconsin Press, 2009, article "Kentucky Folksong in Northern Wisconsin" by Asher E. Treat, pp. 233-234, "I Once Knew a Little Girl" (1 text, 1 tune, sung by Pearl Jacobs Borusky and also by Mrs. M. G. Jabobs)

Roud #412
Eddie and Gracie Butcher, "Don't Come Again" (on IREButcher01)
cf. "Nancy (I)" [Laws P11] (plot)
cf. "Nancy (II) [Laws P12] (theme)
cf. "The Slighted Suitor" (plot)
cf. "Braes of Strathblane" (plot)
NOTES [372 words]: The notes to Henry/Huntington/Herrmann question the connection between their "Rejected Lover" song and Laws P10. They have a point; there isn't much lyric similarity. The plots are alike, however, and the form -- and the two are so widely separated in space that great divergences are possible. Plus there are almost no other versions clearly associated with the Henry text. It seemed easier to lump them.
The Henry text contains several odd Biblical allusions. First, "I'll travel to Mount Nebo, where Moses viewed the Ark." This is patently absurd. Mount Nebo is in Moab, many hundreds of kilometres from Urartu (Ararat), the resting place of the Ark. What Moses saw from Mount Nebo was the future homeland of the Israelites (Deuteronomy 34:1-5).
Equally strange is the reference to Mount Ararat as the place "where Noah did embark." The ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat (plural! -- Genesis 8:4). But there is no reason to think he started there.
There are several mysteries about this song. Laws lists only the texts from Sharp, ignoring Brown and the various references there. The notes in Brown don't help; they link it with "The Lonesome (Stormy) Scenes of Winter" [Laws H12] -- which it may have influenced, but which is clearly not the same song.
Cox's and Fuson's versions seem to form a subgroup (which may even be an independent song which has mixed with this one), marked by the steady use of the title line "(You/I) (can't/need not) come again." Both versions, though rather defective, stress an exchange of letters (perhaps the young man has joined the army?); this may have been imported from "A Rich Irish Lady (The Fair Damsel from London; Sally and Billy; The Sailor from Dover; Pretty Sally; etc.)" [Laws P9].
The Peters-FolkSongsOutOfWisconsin version, from Pearl Jacobs Barusky, is yet again different, in that the gender roles reverse and very many of the lyrics float. I thought about splitting it off -- especially since Laws didn't list a related version found in JAFL. And yet there are lyric similarities. Defining this piece is almost impossible; Roud before me threw up his hands and started lunping things like mad; I'm forced to do the same until someone can do a real study of the family. - RBW
Last updated in version 6.4
File: LP10

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2022 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.