You’ll find a version of this on Spiers & Bodens Songs and Jon says, “There’s a preponderance of girlfriend murdering songs and this is my contribution to the canon. The words are from The Viking/Penguin Book Of Folk Ballads Of The English Speaking World, but I had to tweak them a bit (sweet Florilla seemed a little improbable as the heroine’s name) and I nicked the tune from The Flying Cloud, one of Louis Killen’s big numbers.” Viking was, I believe, the original publisher in the USA in 1956 (which would explain the book’s title) and Penguin followed suit with the UK edition. I’m wondering whether the song is also American as I’ve drawn a total blank with my usual web searches and it might also explain the victim’s original name of sweet Florilla. It seems to share much in common with Banks Of Red Roses, although violets are the flower here. Once again it seems the evil hand is motivated by the threat of being tied to his lover, with discussing impending wedlock the lure that leads the hapless Nancy (as Jon calls her) to her doom. I’d be grateful for anything you can add. Perhaps there’s a title variant that I can’t find.
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