The Sheffield Aprintis

I was brought up in Sheffield
Not of a high degree
My parents doted on me
They had no child but me
I wandered at my leisure
Just where my fancy led
Till I was bound an apprentice boy
When all my joys were fled.

I did not like my master
He did not use me well
I formed a resolution
Not long with him to dwell
Unbeknown unto my parents
From him I ran away
I steered my course to London
And cursed be the day.

For when I got to London
Two ladies met me there
They offered me great wages
To serve them but one year
Persuaded by their promises
With them I did agree
We steered our course to Holland
Which proved my destiny.

We had not been in Holland
Scarce months two or three
Before my wealthy mistress
Grew very fond of me
She said her gold and silver
Her houses and her land
If I’d consent to marry her
Should be at my command.

Said I “Dear honored mistress
I cannot wed you both
I have already promised
And took a solemn oath
For to wed with none but Polly
Your handsome chamber maid
Forgive me my dear mistress
For she has my heart betrayed.

Then into a passion
Straightway she did go
She swore she’d seek some project
’Twould prove my overthrow.
A ring off from her finger
Just as she passed me by
She slipped into my pocket
Now for the same I die.

She swore that I had robbed her
Of her gay gold ring
And quickly I was brought
For to answer for the same
Long time I pleaded innocent
But ’twas of no avail
The ring was found about me
And I was sent to jail.

All you who stand around me
And my sad fate do see
Don’t glory in my downfall
I pray come pity me
And now for execution
They drag me to the tree
Farewell my dearest Polly
I die for loving thee.

Song Text Source: 

Phillips Manuscript supplemented by the recording

Gordon, Robert Winslow, 1888-1961
Date Recorded: 
September, 1924
Track Duration (h:m:s): 
Original Medium: 
wax cylinder
American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
Call Number/Physical Location: 
AFS 19010A: G51 Misc 080

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