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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleLondon Prentice Boy
Roud No.501
Collected FromGrubb, George
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Gloucestershire: Williams, A: MS collection No. Gl 87
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 26th February, 1916, p 3, Part 20, No. 7
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

Come all you wild young chaps who live both far and near,
And listen with attention to these few lines you'll hear;
I once at ease did ramble till one did me destroy,
And sent unto Van Diemen's Land was the London 'Prentice Boy.

Verse 2

'Twas on the fourteenth of July a girl to me did say -
"Keep up your heart, from me depart, your master for to stay,"
A knife she gave me in my hand my master to destroy,
Till I said - "No, that I'll not do, I'm a London 'Prentice Boy."

Verse 3

She scorned and said, "Begone from me. You know what you have done, [hyphen]
If gold you do not bring me, your race will soon be run.
Go boldly on! I'll shelter thee if him you will destroy,
So take this knife and end his life, you London 'Prentice Boy."

Verse 4

It was the hour of twelve at night, I to my master went,
All for to rob and murder him, it was my full intent;
I took one hundred sovereigns and the knife I threw away,
He was a master good and kind, to the London 'Prentice Boy.

Verse 5

Then I returned with utmost speed unto my flashy dame,
The money I could show to her, she soon received the same;
Then I was sent to prison which did my hopes destroy,
All battered in a lonesome cell was this London 'Prentice Boy.

Verse 6

And when my trial it came on my heart was filled with woe,
The girl that I had long maintained she proved my bitter foe;
She was dressed in silks and satins and sore she did annoy,
She tried to swear away the life of the London 'Prentice Boy.

Verse 7

My sister came to speak to me, she's the only friend I have.
All my parents are dead and gone, and lying in the grave;
Sentence was passed on me, which caused the court to cry -
'Twas the scornful dame that caused the same to this London Prentice Boy.
Print Song Lyrics
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'The apprentice boy figures in several songs in our collection. The pieces are all rather dull and formal. They belonged to the commoner type of folk ballad, and were profusely distributed on broadsides. Obtained of George Grubb of Ewen, near Cirencester.'

Note 2

George Grubb is described elsewhere as 'formerly of South Marston'.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.



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