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Rich Merchant

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The Rich Merchant

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The Rich Merchant

There was a rich merchant, in London did dwell,
He had but one daughter, a beautiful girl.
Five thousand bright guineas was her fortune in gold,
Till at length she fell in love with a young sailor bold.

As Catherine was a-viewing her garden one day,
Her father came to her, and this he did say:
"Your lovelie Willie shall no more plow the sea,
Before tomorrow morning his butcher I'll be!"

She dressed herself up in a suit of men's clothes,
She dressed herself up from the top to her toes;
With pumps on her feet and the staff in her hand,
To meet her dear Willie she walked down the strand.

"Willie, dear Willie, Willie!" cried she,
"My father, he swears that your butcher he'll be!"
"Now down to Dover I'd have you repair,
For in forty-eight hours I'll meet with you there. "

She kissed his lips and made him this reply,
Saying, "Willie, dear Willie, I'll save you or die!"
Into his pockets slipped a handful of gold,
And she walked up the Strand like a young sailor bold.

Her father espied her as she stepped on the Strand,
Took her to be Willie; says he, "You're the man!"
Out of his mantle a sword then he drew,
And he pierced her bosom clothes instantly through.

Finding out he'd mistaken, sank back in despair,
A-wringing his hands and tearing his hair,
Cried, "Oh, cruel monster, oh, what have you done?
I've murdered the flower of fair London town."

Finding out he'd mistaken, for home he did start,
He leaned on his sword till he pierced his heart,
A-pleading for mercy till he drew his last breath,
And he closed up his eyes in the cold arms of death.

When Willie, dear Willie, these sad news did hear,
He died, brokenhearted for the loss of his dear.
Now the father, and the daughter, and the young sailor bold
Met an untimely death for the sake of their gold.
Note: a bit of Jackie Munro, a touch of Villikins
From Folk Songs of the Catskills, Cazden Haufrecht and Studer
Collected from George Edwards
DT #432
Laws M19
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III