In seventeen forty-two, it was customary in the township of Halifax, for a gentleman to partake occasionally of ratafia which was--a light-flavored liquer of amazing potency--which originated in Middlesex and which we suppose is the reason for this song.

Oh, Miss Bailey! Unfortunate, Miss Bailey!

A captain bold in Halifax, who dwelt in country quarters, seduced a maid who hung herself one Monday in her garters.
His wicked conscience smitted him.
He lost his stomach daily.
He took to drinking ratafia and tho't upon Miss Bailey.

Oh, Miss Bailey! Unfortunate, Miss Bailey!

One night betimes he went to bed for he had caught the fever. Said he, "I am a handsome man and I'm a gay deceiver."
His candle just a twelve o'clock began to burn quite palely.
A ghost stepped up to his bedside and said, "Behold, Miss Bailey!"

Oh, Miss Bailey! Unfortunate, Miss Bailey!

"Avast, Miss Bailey," then he cried, "you can't affright me, really." "Dear Captain Smith," the ghost replied, "you used me ungenteelly.
The coroner's quest goes hard with me because I've acted freely and Parson Biggs won't bury me tho' I'm a dead Miss Bailey."

Oh, Miss Bailey! Unfortunate, Miss Bailey!

"Dear Ma'am," says he, "since you and I must once for all accounts close, I have a one pound note in my regimental small clothes.
'Twill bribe the sexton for your grave." The ghost then answered gaily, "Bless you, wicked Captain Smith, remember poor Miss Bailey!"

Oh, Miss Bailey! Unfortunate, Miss Bailey!

"All's well that ends well, I suppose."

Lyrics submitted by Mellow_Harsher

The Unfortunate Miss Bailey song meanings
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    General Comment

    The Burial grounds in the late Middle Ages was around the church buildings and the most well off had their plots closest to the building. Those diseased that were not in the good graces of the church could not not be buried near the church as such burials would taint the sacredness of the burial grounds. The bribe for Miss Bailey’s grave was to 1. redeem her sullied reputation and 2. To put her back in the graces of the community and 3. Take her soul out of purgatory. The British assigned sentries to locations to keep an eye on the locales for latent revolutionary ideas, thus Captain Smith probably headed such a squad, he being the leader.. With nothing to do, Halifax was most loyal to the Crown, Capt Smith ran amuk dallying with the locals to fill his time. His guilt over deflowering Miss Bailey caused his drinking and most likely was the subsequent cause of the appearance of the ghostly apparition. Bribing the parson overcame the barrier to finding a location for her grave within the sanctified grounds of the church building, and the assuagement of his conscience.

    Jscott239on April 12, 2019   Link

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