Alice and Jesse

2595532464_dc5c7f1673Blog stats are interesting things.  I noticed that a search today was for the lyrics to Alice and Jesse, a song on my “these always make Kate cry” list.  So as a public service, and because I can find them no other place – I have transcribed the lyrics.  Of course,  in the process,the song made me cry.  Gosh, but I am a human marshmallow.  So, here they are as performed by Jennifer Armstrong on The Leaves Entwine (an album my darling Sam recorded).  When I find the CD I will add the name of the songwriter.

They lived at the start of a new century
When New York was horses and carriage
Alice and Jessie were driven to school
In a white four-in-hand by a coachman.

Summers they went to the country
To play in the fields and the flowers
The stories they heard around the campfire
Told of princesses locked up in towers

Alice loved Indians dancing
And Jesse would kiss her step-mother
Alice went the way of the girls in her circle
And Jesse the way of the other

Alice was married in Baltimore
In a long dress of satin and pearls
Jesse she ran with a dark gypsy man
And he carried her over the world

Alice raised children in Galesburg, St. Paul,
White Bear Lake and Winnetka
She called upon F. Scott and Zelda and danced
To a tune of a waltz in the evening

While Jesse’s hair it grew down to her waist
And kept right on growing all over the place
And she danced to the clapping of hands and of bells
And a guitar that played “Angelina”

Alice was married in Baltimore
In a long dress of satin and pearls
Jesse she ran with a dark gypsy man
And he carried her over the world

Alice’s children, the youngest my mother,
Grew up with wide dreams and professions
Of quiet reform and carrying on
Reaching for art and perfection

While Jesse, she flew by the stars in the night
Her bright black-eyed husband her heart’s own delight
He was a king with a sky for a tent and a bed
That they shared underneath the red wagon.

Alice was married in Baltimore
In a long dress of satin and pearls
Jesse she ran with a dark gypsy man
And he carried her over the world

The letter said Jesse was camped for the spring
Singing and stealing in east Tennessee
She spoke of child-bed, of heart’s blood, of pain
And could her own sister come see her again.

Alice left in the morning on a train heading south,
Left the children in the care of aunt Reba.
She stepped off at Lovelace and took the north track
To Sullivan Garden to meet her

The streets were all silent; the dogs were all still
A wagon was moving too slow up the hill
She stepped in behind, beside the dark man
Who saw her and called for the horses to stand.

“You’re Alice,” he said, and she spoke with her eyes.
“You’re Alice,” he said and he touched her.
“She wanted you here, she spoke of two girls
Who ran in the park wearing ribbons and curls.”

“Yes, I’m Alice,” she said as the tears filled her eyes.
“I wanted to see her, your beauty, your bride.
I loved her, I loved her, I loved her. I wept
That night that you took Jesse from me.

I’m Alice; I married in Baltimore
In a long dress of satin and pearls
But Jesse she ran with my heart in her hand
And she it carried her over the world.”

I wasn’t given Jesse’s guitar
I stole it from out Grampa’s closet
How else do you pass on a gypsy guitar
With hand whittled pegs and tin saddle?

Alice was married in Baltimore
In a long dress of satin and pearls
Jesse she ran with a dark gypsy man
And he carried her over the world

Composite photo of the night sky by flickr member Adan Garcia

One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s