"It was on a Saturday morning. My true love and I did meet. Yonder a soddely garden. Our sorrows we did relate." A man meet up with his wife to be in a garden on a Saturday Morning with bad intentions.
"A bottle of poison I brought her. Of which she did not know. Which made me murder my darling. All under the banks below." He brings her a bottle of wine that he poisoned and kills her.
"Rosey O’Connell she loved me. As dear as she loved her life. It was my whole intention. To make her my loving wife." He doesn't really feel remorse for killing her but almost makes it seem like an "accident"
"When it was the devil’s temptation. That soon entangled me. Which made my murder my darling. All under the ivy tree." He felt like killing her was an obligation of his.
"My mother she reared me tenderly. For seven long years and more. But seldom she ever thought of. That the gallows would be my store." His mother thought he was a sane individual and raised him to be so.
"My father often told me. That money would set me free. But now I am found in this country. And its hung I’ll surely be" He feels liberated by murdering his wife and money is not a factor.
"I live in a castle of comfort. A little beyond the fair. Grief it is my comfort. And sorrow is my care." He finds solitude in his despair.
"My bolsted feathers are dingling. The whole length of day. I have but the cold floor to walk on. To pass the time away." He was thrown in the gallows for the murder of his beloved.
"My father stood at the hall-door. With a watery eye. Looking at his only dear son. Hanging on the gallows so high" His father spots him being hanged for his crime.
"Down in the Willow Garden", also known as "Rose Connelly" is a traditional Appalachian murder ballad, written by The Everly Brothers, about a man facing the gallows for the murder of his lover: he gave her poisoned wine, stabbed her, and threw her in a river. It originated in the 19th century, probably in Ireland, before becoming established in the United States. The lyrics greatly vary among earlier versions, but professional recordings have stabilized the song in a cut-down form. First professionally recorded in 1927, it was made popular by Charlie Monroe's 1947 version, and it has been recorded dozens of times since then and has even been created into various poems.
I think it has become so popular because of the story that the ballad tells. It is clearly about murder and that stands out for people because it's not all that normal to murder people... unless your'e into that sort of thing.
"I know I'm not the only one"
Down in the Willow garden. Where me and my love did meet. As we sat a-courtin'. My love fell off to sleep. I had a bottle of Burgundy wine.My love she did not know. So I poisoned that dear little girl. On the banks below. I drew a sabre through her. It was a bloody knife. I threw her in the river. Which was a dreadful sign. My father often told me. That money would set me free. If I would murder that dear little girl. Whose name was Rose Connolly. My father sits at his cabin door. Wiping his tear-dimmed eyes. For his only son soon shall walk. To yonder scaffold high. My race is run, beneath the sun. The scaffold now waits for me. For I did murder that dear little girl. Whose name was Rose Connelly. In this version he kills her by poison, then stabbing her in the stomach because of her pregnancy, and then throws her into the river with no regret of remorse.
The main literary device in this poem/song is rhyming. Every other line rhymes using an ABAB rhyme scheme.