This song seems to actually have a happy ending, enduring through the years. At least I assume the matron in verse 3 is Nelly.
What I remember about this song is my dad playing it on his violin and singing it. But the chorus was a little different “It was from Aunt Nina’s knitting party, I was seeing Nellie home.” Slightly different wording, but obviously the same song.
In the sky the bright stars glittered On the grass the moonlight fell
Hugh’d the sound of daylight bustle Closed the pink eyed pimpernel
As adown the moss grown wood path Where the cattle love to roam
From an August evening party I was seeing Nelly home.
In the sky the bright stars glittered On the grass the moonlight shone
From an august evening party I was seeing nelly home.
When the autumn tinged the greenwood Turning all its leaves to gold
In the lawn by elders shaded I my love to Nelly told
As we stood together gazing On the star bespangled dome
How I blessed the august evening When I saw sweet Nelly home.
White hairs mingled with my tresses Furrows steal upon my brow
But a love smile cheers and blesse Life’s declining moments now
Matron in the snowy kerchief Closer to my bosom come
Tell me dos’t thou still remember When I saw sweet Nelly home