There was a rich merchant all riding one day
When he spied Pretty Peggy all by the highway.
He called to his coachman and loudly did say,
"There's a pretty fair damsel, go bring her this way."
"There's fifty gold dollars if you will comply
All in my bedchamber this night for to lie."
At the sight of the gold, she gave her consent.
So into this bed chamber pretty Peggy she went.
She played with his old boy with her lily-white hand
Which caused every hair on this old boy to stand,
Which caused every hair on this old boy to play
Over hills and green valleys and so far away.
With hugging and kissing he soon fell asleep,
When out of his arms pretty Peggy did creep.
She sifted his pockets of a large sum of gold
Gold rings, a gold watch and diamonds I'm told.
'Twas early next morning this merchant arose.
'Tis raving distracted, they thought he would go.
He called for his horses to take a long ride,
Thinking to spy pretty Peggy down by the seaside.
He rode the beach up and he rode the beach down
But nothing of Peggy could there be found.
Three times he did pass her but didn't her know.
She laughed in her sleeve, saying, "There goes my beau."
Now Peggy is rich and lives by the seashore.
She swears by her Maker she'll whore it no more,
Unless some poor sailor is sadly in want
For the tars of Columbia shall never lack [c***].
note: Sent by R.M. Davids of Cross-X Ranch, Woodmere, Florida, to Robert
W. Gordon, this is in the Davids manuscript in the Gordon "Inferno"
collection at the Library of Congress. Not clear in this version is the
reason the rich merchant cannot spy Pretty Peggy at the seashore. In a
stanza missing here, the young lady has disguised herself as an old crone.
For a fuller text of this rare ballad, see...
And it breaks off there.
A hasty scan of _Pills to Purge Melancholy,_ Pinto and Rodway's _Common
Muse,_ and Farmer's _Merry Songs_ failed to reveal the ballad. Neither
was Laws' Broadsides of any use. EC