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Sheffield Apprentice

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Sheffield Apprentice

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Sheffield Apprentice

I was brought up in Sheffield, though not of high degree,
My parents doted on me, they had no child but me;
I roved in such pleasures as e'er my fancy led,
Till I was bound apprentice, then all my joy was fled

I did not love my master, he did not use me well,
I took a resolution not long with him to dwell;
And, unknown to my parents, from him I ran away,
And steered my course to London, and cursed be the day.

When I went into London a lady met me there,
She offered me great wages to serve her for a year
Deluded by her promises, with her I did agree
To go with her to Holland, which proved my destiny.

I had not been in Holland but years two or three
Till my young wanton mistress grew very fond of me;
She said she had gold and silver and houses and free land,
If I would consent to marry her, they were all at my command.

I said, "My honoured lady, I cannot wed you both,
For lately I have promised and made a solemn oath
To wed none else but Polly, your pretty chamber maid,
Believe me, my dear mistress, she has my heart betrayed."

All in an angry humor away from me she ran,
She swore she would be revenged on me before that it was long;
She being so sore perplexed that she could not be my wife,
She soon found out a project to take away my life.

One day as I was walking down in her garden green,
The flowers they were all springing, most lovely to be seen,
A gold ring from her finger as I was passing by,
She slipped it in my pocket, and for it I must die.

She swore that I had robbed her, and quickly I was brought,
Before  a grave old justice to answer for my fault;
Long time I pleaded innocent; it was to no avail
She swore so hard against me, I was brought to the jail.

And now to the assizes they have brought me at last,
The Justices and Magistrates on me have sentence passed;
From the place of my confinement they have brought me to a tree;
May Heaven reward my mistress, for she has ruined me.

All you that stand around me, my wretched fate to see,
Do not glory in my downfall, but rather, pity me;
Believe me, I am quite innocent; I bid the world adieu;
Farewell my pretty Polly, I  die for love of you.

Printed in Gavin Grieg, Folk-Song of the North-East
tune "SHEFFAPP" from Songs the Whalemen Sang, Huntington
DT #489
Laws O39
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