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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Musical Interlude

(If you must have politics, please scroll down)

Lizzie Borden's favorite poem and a beautiful song accompanied by lovely images in the video below:

An exile in her hometown of Fall River after the murders of her father and stepmother on August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden had the poem's words engraved on the mantel of Maplecroft, the mansion she purchased after her acquittal in the trial of the century. She also directed that the first and fourth verses of "My Ain Countrie" be sung at her private wake following her death on June 1, 1927. "My Ain Countrie" is sometimes referred to as "Lizzie Borden's Hymn." Lyrics:
I am far frae my hame, an’ I’m weary aftenwhiles,
For the langed for hame bringin’, an’ my Father’s welcome smiles;
An’ I’ll ne’er be fu’ content, until mine een do see
The gowden gates o’ Heav’n an’ my ain countrie.


The earth is fleck’d wi’ flowers, mony tinted, fresh an’ gay
The birdies warble blithely, for my Faither made them sae:
But these sights an’ these soun’s will as naething be to me,
When I hear the angels singin’ in my ain countrie.

I’ve His gude word o’ promise that some gladsome day, the King
To His ain royal palace his banished hame will bring;
Wi’een an’ wi’ hert rinnin’ owre, we shall see
The King in His beauty, in oor ain countrie.


Sae little noo I ken, o’ yon blessèd, bonnie place
I only ken it’s Hame, whaur we shall see His face,
It wad surely be eneuch for ever mair to be
In the glory o’ His presence, in oor ain countrie.


He is faithfu’ that hath promised, an He’ll surely come again,
He’ll keep His tryst wi’ me, at what oor I dinnna ken;
But He bids me still to wait, an’ ready aye to be,
To gang at ony moment to my ain countrie.



  1. Was Lizzie's father molesting her?

  2. It is a beautiful song, to be sure.

    Whether Lizzie did it and her motives... There's plenty of room for speculation, but we will likely never know.

  3. A true Scotswoman, she did them both in with one cheap axe.

    As for the music, no insult intended whatever but I'll take old time rock and roll over sad laments. Give me the upbeat any day.

  4. Thersites,
    Years ago, I met face-to-face an old lady in Fall River, a lady who had personally known Lizzie Borden in Lizzie's later years.

    The old lady essentially told me that old man Borden molested Lizzie as a child. He may well have continued that molestation into Lizzie's adulthood. Of course, we don't know for certain.

    Clearly, Lizzie and her sister were unhappy that old man Borden was going to change his will. I think the change had to do with giving his second wife's family a property that had belonged to his first wife or her family. Old man Borden's first wife was Lizzie's mother. I'm guessing that Lizze and her sister thought that the property should rightly be theirs so that they didn't have to depend on old man Borden and, later, on Borden's second wife.

    Before Abby Borden's death, Lizzie had, at some point, stopped called her stepmother "mother." Was there animosity there between the two of them? I'm sure.

  5. Black Sheep,
    No offense taken.

    Musical tastes are personal and individual.

  6. Brooke,
    Yes, it is too late for certainty.

    People will continue to speculate. In fact, there is a bit of a cottage industry based on that speculation. Indeed, with the economic situation in Fall River, people there need all the cottage industries they can get!

  7. It would be no surprise if she was abused. Everything I've read in the past about her father and stepmother was pretty dreary. The evidence was certainly against her in her trial but convicting a woman of murder was hard for people to countenance back then. I kinda suspect her parents weren't the most popular people on the block either, which had to help her cause.

    Some people do deserve to die regardless of our laws against homicide. The guilty shouldn't always be punished. Seems like she was punished enough in any case, and they got what was coming to them.

    And I've nothing against Scottish - or Irish - dirges, I love pretty much all music, but today is MOVING DAY and I'm finally going to be packing up and getting ready to get the hell out of Washington. Today is Happy Day. No sad music for me, thankee vurry much. I am so tired of allergies and rain and dark gray skies and cold and wind and.......

  8. That story still gives me the creeps. I honestly believe she was guilty.

  9. Leticia,
    I, too, believe that Lizzie was guilty. I did years of research on the topic -- including several personal visits to Fall River.

    I suppose that the case is fascinating primarily because the jury found her not guilty.

  10. I only asked because of the lyrics.

  11. I love the calm, peaceful, mystical melancholy aura of the music.

    Lizzie Borden was a good looking woman. Why she had remained unmarried at age 32 is a mystery in itself.

    I'm glad she wasn't hanged. What she undoubtedly did may actually have been heroic. We'll never know what the atmosphere in the Andrew Borden house was really like.

    From everything I've ever read life was often downright suffocating -- especially for women -- in small towns everywhere. Remember there was no radio, no TV, few-if-any restaurants, no relief at all from endless household drudgery. Even with hired help living was just plain hard work from dawn to dusk.

    Imagine church being your only outlet -- an outlet where it was likely you'd hear thundering sermons telling you how inherently rotten you were -- how vain, selfish, stupid, cruel and utterly undeserving you were of anything but God's wrath -- and that all your best efforts to be good were doomed to be of no avail.

    LOVELY, wasn't it?

    There are many kinds -- and degrees -- of abuse that have nothing to do with sexual molestation. Persistent browbeating, stinginess, forbidding pleasant harmless pursuits because of sheer cussedness, a complete lack of affection, empathy, appreciation and understanding, overwork, incessant harsh demands, no privacy, nowhere to go for relief, the hideous knowledge that one is trapped, helpless because of economic considerations, etc.

    All these things may cripple an individual psychologically and work upon them over years of unrelieved strain to drive them over the brink into madness.

    Lizzie, who by all reports would have liked the enjoyment of good company, was punished enough by the ostracism she received from the townsfolk after her acquittal.

    Yes. She bought a bigger, more up-to-date house on "The Hill" she called Maplecroft. Yes. she lived there with her sister Emma, apparently unmolested, for 33 years, and yes she took periodic trips to New York to go the the Theater and to the Opera, but except for Emma -- about whom we seem to know very little -- Lizzie was very much alone.

    No one could possibly perpetrate such hideous acts of violence without extreme provocation -- unless she was a natural-born homicidal maniac.

    I imagine the stepmother was a cold, selfish, hard-bitten, flint-hearted bitch of the first water. Being trapped in close quarters with such a person in that era could easily do very strange things to the sensitive, vulnerable soul lI believe Lizzie to have been.

    ~ FreeThinke

  12. The song tells us a great deal about what Lizzie must really have been like. It's calm but wistful, plaintive, lyrical, sensitive and filled with longing for a place where she would have liked to live that was always denied her -- or perhaps it was the place she lost after her mother's death?

    I'd like to know much more about Lizzie's natural mother, her sister Emma and the father Andrew -- and how things were before Mr. Borden remarried.

    People get so easily fixated on the gruesome, sensationalistic aspects of the case, they lose sight of the humanity of the people involved.

    Newspapers then, I'm sure, were as shallow and unreliable as they are today.

    The song haunts me. I think it may reveal more bout Lizzie's true nature than all the 'data' and the 'lore' compiled in the past hundred years.

    ~ FreeThinke

  13. FT,
    Yes, "My Ain Countrie" reveals a lot about "the real Lizzie."

    Nearly three years ago at my previous site, I did an extensive post about Lizzie Borden.

    Lizzie's existence under her skinflint father was unpleasant -- to say the least. By today's definition of abuse, Lizzie was abused in many ways, many of which you mentioned in your comment. After all, the Bordens were the richest family in town; yet, they were forced to live in a miserable little house with zero personal privacy (no hallways, so all rooms had to be accessed by going through other rooms) instead of a house more befitting of the family's social place in Fall River society. At the time of the murders, Lizzie's only respites from being cooped up in that house were (1) working with Chinese children at the Congregational church in Fall River and (2) going fishing in nearby Swansea. Andrew Borden had, at one point, paid for Lizzie and Emma to go to Europe. But once they returned home, he never allowed them the funds to go anywhere else. Lizzie loved the opera, but he wouldn't let her travel to NYC or Baltimore to attend the opera. Definitely a stifling existence figurative and literally. I read somewhere that Andrew Borden wouldn't even let the family open the house's windows even in the most oppressive weather.

    Actually, Emma moved out of Maplecroft. The theory is that she didn't like Lizzie's living of "the high life" by going to parties and the opera -- and, possibly, Lizzie's having an affair with an actress of the day.

    I see that you, too, are interested in the case of Lizzie Borden. We will have lots to discuss about it!


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