English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians

122 Songs and Ballads, and 323 Tunes With Lyrics & sheet Music - online book

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The Silk Merchant's Daughter
8   Then straightway to London their ship it did steer, Such utter destruction to us did appear.
It was all out on main sea, to our discontent.
Our ship sprung a leak and to the bottom she went.
9   There was four and twenty of us contained in one boat, Our provision gave out and our allowance grew short. Our provisions gave out and death drawing nigh,
Says the captain : Let's cast lots for to see who shall die.
10  Then down on a paper each man's name was wrote, Each man ran his venture, each man had his note. Amongst the whole ship's crew this maid's was the least, It was her lot to die for to feed all the rest.
11   Now, says the captain, let's cast lots and see Amongst the ship's crew who the butcher will be. It's the hardest of fortune you ever did hear,
This maid to be killed by the young man, her dear.
12   He called for a basin for to catch the blood While this fair lady a trembling stood,
Saying: Lord, have mercy on me, how my poor heart do bleed To think I must die, hungry men for to feed.
13   Then he called for a knife his business to do. She says: Hold your hand for one minute or two. A silk merchant's daughter in London I be; Pray see what I've come to by loving of thee.
14   Then she showed a ring betwixt them was broke. Knowing the ring, with a sigh he spoke:
For the thoughts of your dying my poor heart will burst, For the hopes of your long life, love, I will die first.
15   Says the captain : If you love her you'll make amend, But the fewest of number will die for a friend,
So quicken the business and let it be done.
But while they were speaking they all heard a gun.
16  Says the captain: You may now all hold your hand, We all hear a gun, we are near ship or land.
In about half an hour to us did appear
A ship bound for London which did our hearts cheer.
It carried us safe over and us safe conveyed,
And then they got married this young man and maid.