As I was walking in fair London town
I saw a dead body lay there on the ground
I ask-ed the reason that there made it lie
And one was a lady made me this reply
"His debts being unpaid
He lies on the cold ground."
'Twas twenty pounds sterling I freely paid
And into the ground this dead body was laid
I traveled on further. I chanced for to see
A beautiful lady that hang-eth must be
Only for striking a Turkish lady.
'Twas twenty pounds sterling I fully laid down
And took home with me to fair London town
She is my housekeeper when I am from the land
And whether I find to be just
The keys to my riches I do with her trust.
(The man was a duke)
From Flanders and Brown, Vermont Folksongs and Ballads. Fragment
of longer song. Collected from Sharon Harrington in Manchester,
VT in 1930.