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Polly Williams

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Polly Williams

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Polly Williams

Come all ye good people, wherever you be,
Come listen awhile to my sad tragedy.
It is of a young lady that was worthy of praise-
At the age of nineteen she ended her days.

Long time she'd been courted, as I have heard say,
And her lover to delude her took many a way.
For soon as he found that her love he had gained,
Her company he slighted, and her love he disdained.

And then to destroy her he contrived a plan:
To this mountain conveyed her, as I understand.
Oh, this innocent creature his mind did not know,
And in hopes to be married with this traitor did go.

And when to this mountain he did her convey,
Oh, he left her fair body for the varmints a prey.
She was cruelly treated and shamefully used
By this cruel tyrant - how could him excuse!

Which caused old and young to weep and to cry,
And to find out this traitor they each one did try.
He was apprehended, his cause to bewail-
Straightway he was conducted to Uniontown jail.

There by judge and by jury he was proven out clear,
And he now takes Polly Clayton, and he calls her his dear.
But, like a deceiver, he'll live in despair
Till the day of strict judgment when all must appear.

Oh the judge and the jury they all will be there,
And with one accord the truth will declare.
Oh, the impartial judge he will pass the decree,
And this cruel tyrant condemned will be.

Come all ye good people who saw this object,
Don't add nor diminish, deceive nor correct.
This honored young lady was found in a gore,
And her flesh by this traitor all mangled and tore.

Oh, it's every temptation is the future of some snare,
And of all such false lovers I would have you beware.
Oh, beware of false lovers who court in deceit,
Lest, like Polly Williams, it will prove your sad fate

To be brought by a lover to shame and disgrace.
And lose your sweet life in some wilderness place.
They will hug you and kiss you, and call you their own,
And when your back is turned they will leave you to mourn.

From American Ballads and Folk Songs, Lomax

Collected by S. Bayard from Nancy White and Annie Braden, PA
Note: According to Bayard, this is based on an actual murder in
1810; the names have been changed, not to protect the innocent,
but probably to scan better. The tune is a variant of the
Wagoner's lad/Tarwathie family. RG
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