Ballads & Songs of Southern Michigan-songbook

A Collection of 200+ traditional songs & variations with commentaries including Lyrics & Sheet music

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zzo         Ballads and Songs of Michigan
For texts slightly similar see Jackson, pp. 187-188; JFSS, III, 180-183, and VIII, 222-224; Mackenzie, pp. 223-224; and Williams, p. 261.
The present version is from the Lambertson manuscript. Both Mr. John and Mr. Charles Lambertson remembered hearing their mother sing this song.
1    A story, a story, to you I will tell,
'Tis of a fair damsel in London did dwell. The truth of the story I mean you shall hear, How she ventured her life for the sake of her dear.
2    This fair maid was taught for to write and to read, Likewise for to cipher as far as she had need.
She served her twelve months with an unyielding heart Until she had learned the mariner's art.
3    Early one morning pretty Polly arose,
She dressed herself up in a suit of men's clothes,
She dressed herself up in her royal estate,
And on board the Union she shipped herself mate.
4    We served our twelve months all on the seashore. We served our twelve months and I think a little more Until these bold admirals came plowing o'er the main Which caused us to hoist up our topsails again.
5    We soon overtook them, the ocean being wide, The first salutation gave them a broadside. They gave us another as good as we sent, For to sink one another was all our intent.
6    'Twas broadside for broadside these Frenchmen did pour Until we had exchanged twenty broadsides or more, But the first or second broadside our captain was slain, And this fair maid was forced in his place to remain.
7    'Twas three dreadful hours in battle severe,
They scarce had a man on their deck that could steer, They scarce had a man that could fire off a gun, And out of the scupper holes the blood it did run.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III