When I performed this song as a folk music duo called Two Penny Dreadful (before there was a television show of a similar name, by the way), we changed “may he reward you well” to “may he damn you to hell”. It was the kind thing we did around the time Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys were still unknown, just to make some songs ever-so-slightly “edgier”.
I had come up with the duo name, but it had originally been “Half-Penny Dreadful”. It was my argument that we weren’t worth a full two pennies and that even a half-penny seemed a bit much to place our value at. I was overridden (two musicians, two pennies), but the “Dreadful” part stuck, so I suppose I should have been content with that.
Of course, like everything with that band, the end result was not what I had originally envisioned when I sold the concept to the other guy. I hadn’t minded the idea of adding a few trad songs, but I had originally wanted it to be far less serious and not so Irish. But I was bullied into going less “unplugged” post-punk and more folksy with a heavy Irish leaning by the other guy. Needless to say, he hated it when I would break into “About a Girl” while he was trying to chat between songs. Or “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. Or the intro riff of “A Forest”. I wanted more TMBG and Wonder Stuff and less Planxty and Christie Moore.
Don't you remember when You lay beside me And you said you'd marry me And not deny me. If I said I'd marry you It was only for to try you So bring your witness love And I'll not deny you. No, witness have I none Save God Almighty And may he reward you well For the slighting of me. Her lips grew pale and wan It made a poor heart tremble To think she loved a one And he proved deceitful.