The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #55837   Message #871182
Posted By: GUEST
21-Jan-03 - 03:10 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Maid with the Box on Her Head
Subject: Lyr Add: IT'S OF A PRETTY FAIR MAID
Here's the text from Alfred Williams' Folk Songs of the Upper Thames:


IT'S OF A PRETTY FAIR MAID

It's of a pretty fair maid in London did dwell,
For wit and for beauty none could her excel;
To her master and her mistress she servèd seven years,
And what followed after you quickly shall hear.

She put the box upon her head and gangèd along,
The first that she met with was a stout and able man;
He said, "My pretty fair maid, where are you going this way?
I'll show you a nearer road across the countree."

He took her by the hand and led her to a lane,
Said he , "My pretty fair maid, I mean to tell you plain;
Deliver up your money, without fear or strife,
Or else, this very moment, I'll take away your your life."

The tears from her eyes like two fountains did flow-
"Oh, where shall I wander? Oh, where shall I go?"
But while this young fellow was feeling for his knife,
This beautiful young damsel took away his life.

She put the box upon her head and gangèd along,
The next that she met was a noble gentleman;
He said, "My pretty fair maid, where are you going so late?
And what was the noise that I heard at yonder gate?

"The box upon your head to youself does not belong,
To your master or your mistress you have done something wrong;
To your master or your mistress you have done something ill,
For one moment from trembling you cannot keep still."

"The box upon my head to myself it does belong,
To my master or my mistress I have done nothing wrong;
To my master or my mistress I have done nothing ill,
But I fear in my heart it's some man I have killed."

"He demanded my money and I soon let him know,
And when he took his knife I proved his overthrow;"
She took him by the hand and led him to the place,
Where this stut and able fellow lay bleeding on his face.

They searched him all over to see what he had got,
He had three loaded pistols, some powder and some shot;
He had three loaded pistols, some powder and some ball,
A knife and a whistle, more robbers for to call.

He put the whistle to his lips and blew both loud and shrill,
And four stout, able fellows came tripping down the hill;
The gentleman shot one of them, and that most speedily,
And this beautiful young damsel she shot the other three.

He says, "My pretty fair maid, for what you have done,
I'll make you my lawful bride, love, before it is long;
I'll make you my lawful bride love, before it is long,
For the taking of your own part, and the firing of your gun."


Williams says: Formerly a very special favourite in the Vale. I have been offered the piece at least twelve times, though I have heard it but once quite accurately - assuming that the following version is accurate; it is the best I have obtained. Communicated by Henry Potter, Standlake, Oxon"

Mick