The Butcher Boy – also known as Died for Love

The Butcher Boy

The Butcher Boy is an old traditional song that tells the tragic story of a girl who falls in love with a young butcher boy, only to find that he runs off with someone else after she has become pregnant.

Died for Love
Videos
Lyrics and chords

Unable to bear the heartache of being abandoned, she takes her own life and leaves a note so that the world will know that she died for love.

The song also goes under the title of Died For Love. Its origins are uncertain.

Heartache and shame of pregnancy

The young girl betrayed by the butcher boy

Died for love

The young woman doesn’t only have to endure the loss of her lover. She also knows she must bear the shame of becoming pregnant before getting married.

That carried a stigma, not just in the 19th century but right up to the 1960s in Ireland, the UK and America. It would have been very difficult for a young woman to bring up a baby on her own, and she would risk being a social outcast.

I wish I was a maid again

It’s no wonder then that the young woman wishes she could be a maid again. She also wishes the baby were born and sitting on its daddy’s knee.

She knows both things are impossible and she also knows that her lover is in a tavern somewhere with another girl on his knee and that “he tells her what he wouldn’t tell me”.

She is so distraught that she wishes she were “dead and gone with the long green grass growing over me”.

Oh what a foolish girl was I

The girl goes upstairs telling her mother that she is going to bed. When her mother asks her what’s wrong with her, she asks for a pen so she can explain in a letter.

Later, her father returns and asks to see his daughter, his “heart’s delight”.

He eventually he has to break down her bedroom door and suffer the horror of seeing her hanging from a rope. In her note she berates herself for her folly: “Oh what a foolish girl was I, to give my heart to a butcher boy.”

Butcher Boy
Died for Love
Videos
Lyrics and chords

Did you know?


Singing Cork barman has fans across the world - a video of the Irish music loving barman singing while he poured a pint went viral as people became enchanted by his easy going style and great voice. Check out his video.

Have you heard about…

Irish people warned about the ‘Celtic curse’ - a potentially deadly blood condition, that harms the liver, heart and pancreas, has been labelled the ‘Celtic Curse’ because more people in Ireland are prone to it than people from other countries. Find out more.

What about this…

‘Irish giant’ Tom Crean was one of the bravest and toughest explorers of the early part of the 20th century. Thanks to his positivity and faith, he managed to not only survive horrific conditions but also save the lives of his colleagues. Find out more.

Personalised framed prints

Illuminated Letters

Stunning Illuminated Letters based on the ancient Book of Kells

Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.