The Cruel Ship Carpenter

The Cruel Ship Carpenter
In fair Worcester city in fair Worcestershire,
A handsome young damsel and she lives there;
A long time I courted her to be my dear,
I lived by the trade of a ship carpenter.
As sung by Danny Brazil 5 January 1966 and from discussion (Springthyme 66.2.4). In: Shepheard, Peter. Folk Songs and Ballads of the Brazil Family of Gloucester (1967).

In fair Worcester city in fair Worcestershire,
A handsome young damsel and she lives there;
A long time I courted her to be my dear,
I lived by the trade of a ship carpenter.

Our captain wanted seamen to sail on the sea,
That was the first parting of Polly and me;
“O Polly, dear Polly now come along with me,
Before we get married my friends you must see.”

He led her through woods and through valleys so deep,
It caused pretty Polly to syph and to weep;
She said, “Willie, dear Willie you have led me astray,
Just on purpose my innocent life to take away.”

“It’s true dearest Polly, it is true what you say,
I’ve been all the night long a-diggin your grave.”
For the grave being open and the spade standing by,
It caused pretty Polly to syph and to cry.

“Oh pardon, oh pardon, oh pardon my life,
Oh Willie I won’t covet you to be your wife;
I will travel all England for to set you quite free,
If its you will pardon my baby and me.”

“Pardon dear Polly I have no time to spare.”
And out of his pocket a long knife he drew;
He piercèd her body till the blood it did flow,
And into the grave her fair body he throw.

He covered it up so safe and so sound,
He was thinking the murder would never be found;
Until he sailed on board a ship for to sail the world round,
He was thinking the murder would never be found.

Earlye one morning at the dawn of the day,
Our captain cried, “Order, all hands come this way;
There’s a murderer on board the ship and its latelye been done,
Our ship is in mourning and she will not sail on.”

Now it’s up stepped a young man, “No, indeed it’s not I!”
And up stepped another, the same said he;
And it’s up stepped young Willie for to storm curse and swear,
“No indeed it’s not I sir, I vow and declare.”

But as he was turning at the captain’s command,
He met pretty Polly all dressed up in white;
For she ripped him and she stripped him and she tore him in three,
Was because that he had murdered the baby and she.


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