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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
raredance Lyr Req: Lizzy Borden? / Fall River Hoedown (19) RE: Lyr Req: Chad Mitchell Trio: Lizzy Borden 30 Jun 03

The little rhymes or jingles at least predate Lizzie Borden's death. Doggeral doesn't lend itself easily to a defamation lawsuit. Olive Burt (American Murder Ballads and Their Stories - 1958) lists some variants of the common refrain. She suggested the problem of how LB could do the deed and not be covered with blood could be explained by this one.

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks
Then she stood behind the door
And gave her father forty more.

Another one was:

Andrew Borden, he is dead;
Lizzie hit him on the head.
Lizzie killed her mother, too
What a horrid thing for Liz to do!

Ms. Burt says she heard children chanting this one in 1923 (i.e. before the death of LB)

Lizzie Borden, bend your head;
Don't you wish that you were dead?
Lizzie Borden bend your knee;
One, two, three - out goes she!

Then there is the joke:
A neighbor met Lizzie on the morning of August 4th, 1892, and asked her what time it was.
"I don't know," Lizzie replied, " I'll go axe father"

Burt was surprised that the events did not inspire any ballads at the time. She reports a poem that was purportedly in circulation at the time written by A L Bixby who may have been a reporter who covered the trials.

There's no evidence of guilt,
Lizzie Borden,
That should make your spirit wilt,
Lizzie Borden.
Many do not think that you
Chopped your father's head in two,
It's so hard a thing to do,
Lizzie Borden.

You have borne up under all,
Lizzie Borden
With a mighty show of gall,
Lizzie Borden.
But because your nerve is stout
Does not prove beyond all doubt
That you knocked the old folks out,
Lizzie Borden.

rich r

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