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Unhappy Love 59
11 THE APPRENTICE BOY
The story in this ballad is current in England and America in two different songs, "In Bruton Town" or "The Bramble Briar" and "The Constant Farmer's Son." For a discussion of the history of the variants of the story see H M. Belden's article, "Boccaccio, Hans Sachs, and 'The Bramble Briar,' " PMLA, XXXIII, 327-395. For other references and two texts see Cox, pp. 305-307. See also Eddy, No. 21; Henry, JAFL, XLV, 51-53; and Sharp, I, 310-316, text E being somewhat similar.
The present version is from the Lambertson manuscript. Both Mr. Charles and Mr. John Lambertson remembered hearing their mother sing this song
1 'Twas near Bridgewater a rich man lived; He had two sons, one daughter dear; But soon by death they were bereaved, Which filled these children's hearts with care.
2 These young men had to cross the ocean, All for to bring home their gain;
And a prentice bound by firm indenture, Which made them factors of the same.
3 This young man was neat in every feature, Completely built in every limb;
And this fair maid placed her whole affection Upon her father's servant man.
4 By chance one day her younger brother Happened to see them sport and play. The secret told he to the other; These very words to him did say:
5 "This young man is born of some meaner parents; He intends our sister for to have.
But this courtship shall soon be ended; We'll send him headlong to the grave."
6 These villains did this young man flatter With them a-hunting then to go,
And there was a ditch where there was no water Where this young man was killed and thrown.