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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleTwas of a damsel fair and handsome
Roud No.539
Collected FromUnknown
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative TitleDaughter in the dungeon
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 5 - Miscellaneous: Williams, A: MS collection No Mi 610
Source SecondaryUnpublished
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

Twas of a damsel fair and handsome,
In times of truth as I've been told,
On the banks of the Simeon 'tis folly to mention,
Her parents claimed a great sum of gold.
Her hair was as black as the raven's feather,
Her form and features, deny it who can,
But still 'tis folly belongs to nature,
She fell in love with a servant man.

Verse 2

Sweet Mary Ann and her love were walking,
Her father heard them and near drew;
And as these lovers they were talking,
In anger, home, her father flew.
To build a dungeon 'twas his intention,
To part the lovers he contrived a plan,
He vowed an oath to vile to mention,
That he'd part this fair one from her servant man.

Verse 3

He built a dungeon of brocks and mortar,
With a flight of steps, for 'twas underground,
The food he gave her was bread and water,
The poorest cheer in this earth was found.
Three times a day he cruelly beat her,
Until to her father she thus began:
'If I've transgressed, my dearest father,
I'll live and die for my servant man.'

Verse 4

Young Edwin found out her habitation,
It was well secured by an iron door,
He vowed in spite of all the nation,
He'd gain her freedom or rest no more.
All at his leisure he toiled with pleasure,
To gain release for his Mary Ann;
He tried an object and found his treasure,
She cried - 'My faithful young servant man.'

Verse 5

A suit of clothes then he brought his lover,
'Twas man's apparel her to disguise,
Saying - 'For your sake I will face your father,
To see me here it will him surprise.'
When her cruel father brought bread and water,
To call his daughter he soon began,
Said Edwin - 'Enter! I've cleared your daughter,
And I will suffer, a serving man.'

Verse 6

As soon as he found his daughter vanished,
Much like a lion he did roar,
Said he - 'From Ireland you shall be banished,
Or with my broadsword I'll spill your gore.'
'Agreed,' said Edwin, 'So at your leisure,
Now I've freed your daughter do all you can,
Forgive your daughter and I'll die with pleasure,
As she would do for her serving man.'

Verse 7

As soon as he found him so brave hearted,
Down he fell on the dungeon floor.
Said he - 'True lovers shall not be parted,
Since love can enter an iron door.'
Then soon they joined to be parted never,
It's roll in riches this young couple can,
The fair young lady may roll in pleasure,
For she's blessed for ever with her servant man.
Print Song Lyrics
Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2007.



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