#01986
Lonely Sarah (MacEdward Leach)
See also: The Sheffield Apprentice (Kenneth Peacock)

My parents reared me tenderly, they had no child but me,
I was bent on roaming, at home I would not stay;
I roamed about for pleasure where'r my fancy lay,
Till l was bound apprentice that proved my destiny.

I did not like my master, he did not use me well,
I made a resolution not long with him to dwell;
Unknown to friends and parents, from him I ran away,
I steered my course for Dublin, my curse lies on the day.

I was not long in London, six months or only more,
When an honourable lady proposed to hire me;
I was not long in her service, one year or only more,
When my young wealthy mistress she loved me very dear,
She said my gold, my silver, my houses, and my lands,
If you will agree and marry me it'll be at your command.

Oh, mistress, honourable mistress,I cannot wed too bold,
For I am already promised, I have sworn a solemn oath,
To wed no one but Sarah, your handsome waiting maid,
Oh mistress, honourable mistress, she got my heart betrayed.

With rotten indignation my angry mistress said,
Did I think I'll ever be slighted all for a chambermaid?
Since you refuse my offer, young man, the lady said,
On you I'll be revenged for my life is led astray.

Oh, early the next morning, a-viewing the meadows gay,
l met my wealthy mistress and we walked on our way;
A gold ring from her finger, as we walked side by side,
She slipped in my coat pocket, and for that ring I'll die.

My mistress swore I robbed her, and quickly I was brought,
Before a bar of justice, to answer for my fault;
The jury found me guilty, this world I must bid adieu,
Sweet, handsome, lovely Sarah, l will die for the love of you.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a British broadside ballad [Laws O39] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957). Also a variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad, Sheffeld Apprentice, published by W Armstrong (Liverpool) sometime between 1820 and 1824, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 28(23) ....####

Collected in 1951 from John Connors [1890-1971] of Placentia, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was collected in 1960 from George Reid [1882-1975] of Codroy, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published as The Sheffield Apprentice in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.709-710, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that in another variant sung by Mrs Mary Ann Galpin [1872-1962] of Codroy, NL, the apprentice meets the rich lady in Belfast, not London; and she takes him to Holland, not Ireland. Verse five in the above text is from this variant. This broadside ballad has been widely collected from oral tradition in North America and England. The Newfoundland tune was the best Peacock had seen.


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