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Lyr Req: Cornwall Apprentice

In Mudcat MIDIs:
The Cornwall Apprentice
The Sheffield Apprentice


toadfrog 02 Jul 01 - 11:42 PM
toadfrog 15 Jul 01 - 02:40 PM
MMario 12 Oct 01 - 03:06 PM
toadfrog 14 Oct 01 - 11:12 PM
Malcolm Douglas 15 Oct 01 - 12:14 PM
Joe Offer 31 Jan 11 - 10:39 PM
Richard Mellish 11 Sep 11 - 05:05 PM
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Subject: Cornwall Apprentice
From: toadfrog
Date: 02 Jul 01 - 11:42 PM

The Boston Burglar (a.k.a. "Louisville Burglar" and several other things, is described on the d.t. as "Irish-American." Now, I'm sure that's right, but I think somewhere I was told it had an English antecedent called the "Cornwall Apprentice." I would swear I have even heard it sung, but recall only a few lyrics - "I was brought up in Cornwall" (of course) and "I ripped, I roamed, I rambled."

There is a "Sheffield Apprentice" on dt (and four times in the Bodelian collection) which has a different story but possibly is related. But there is no "Cornwall Apprentice" in the Bodelian, or in googol, and so far as I can tell, it isn't mentioned on Bruce O's website either.

Does anyone know - is there a "Cornwall Apprentice," or did I dream all this stuff?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cornwall Apprentice
From: toadfrog
Date: 15 Jul 01 - 02:40 PM

I communicated to the friend who first told me about this song, and she sent me the words. I gather what happened was, a mutual friend of ours took "Sheffield Apprentice" or a variant, relocated it in Cornwall, and added verses from the "Boston Burglar" at the end, so that the apprentice who was "brought up in Cornwall, but not of high degree," ended up "sentenced to Charleston Town. So we assumed her song must be the daddy of the Boston Burglar. All that happened back in the 50's.

As it appears the words themselves don't add anything in particurlar, I will refrain from posting them


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cornwall Apprentice
From: MMario
Date: 12 Oct 01 - 03:06 PM

Hey toadfrog! Why not post them anyway - since you got our appetites all whetted with the discussion of how it came about?


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE CORNWALL APPRENTICE
From: toadfrog
Date: 14 Oct 01 - 11:12 PM

O.k. M. Mario, since you are curious. And it appears I missed the point when I did the above message; it seems so easy to make mistakes online. This is another of those songs that was written posthumously; they were tough in those days! The message I got, with lyrics, is as follows:

Hi Bill,

Here is the song copied from Peggy's singing on MATCHING SONGS OF THE BRITISH ISLES AND AMERICA, RLP 12-637. Fred thinks it may have been reprinted on CD, but we haven't checked that out. The note on the record jacket says "Miss Seeger's version is essentially the one collected by Cecil Sharp in 1918 from the singing of Mrs. Mary Gibson of Marion, North Carolina." She has a beautiful guitar acc. with it elaborate and clean.

The note mentions that the ballad was a popular broadside in the 19th century, often reprinted, and that the UK and US texts don't differ greatly, although there were many different tunes. You didn't say anything about needing the tune; I take it you already know it. By the way, the connection with Boston Burglar (I found a copy of the words in my old notebook, with the note that I got it from Mara Untermann, but not where she got it from), is mainly in the transportation verse; that eastbound train to Charlestown was obviously one you didn't want to be on. There is a Charlestown somewhere near Boston; I remember seeing the name on streetcars when I lived in Cambridge as a child; is that the one with a prison?

I was brought up in Cornwall all in a high degree.
My parents doted on me, no other child but me.
I ripped, I roved, I rambled where'er my fancies led
Till I became apprenticed, and all my joys they fled.

The man that I was bound to, he did not use me well.
I formed a resolution with him not long to dwell.
Unbeknownst to my dear parents from him I ran away.
I steered my course for London; oh, curs-ed be the day.

There were a lady in London; she chanced to spy me there.
She offered me great payment to dwell with her a year.
Her gold and her silver, houses and her land,
If I'd consent to wed her, should be at my command.

Oh no, my honored mistress, [YOU IDIOT! (t.f.)] I cannot wed you both.
I promised pretty Polly and bound it with an oath.
My mistress flew in anger and from me fled away
A-swearing by all vengeance she'd be my overthrow.

As I walked out one morning to take the pleasant air,
My mistress followed after to view the lilies fair.
Gold rings from off her fingers as she did pass me by,
She slipped them in my pocket, and for them I must die.

They put me on an eastbound train one cold December day,
And every station I rode through, I heard the people say,
"Yonder goes a young man, in iron chains he's bound.
For some crime or another, they've sent him to Charlestown."


Then I was executed and on the gallows hung.
My friends and relations all round me they did come.
Farewell to sin and sorrow, I bid them all adieu,
And likewise dearest Polly, I died for loving you.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SHEFFIELD APPRENTICE and THE CORNWALL
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 15 Oct 01 - 12:14 PM

Peggy Seeger's text appears to be a collation of two noted by Sharp in North Carolina (1916 and 1918).  Because I find such things interesting, here are the two for comparison:

THE SHEFFIELD APPRENTICE

(Noted by Cecil Sharp from Mrs. Mary Sands at Allenstand, N.C, in 1916)

As I grew up in Boston in such a low degree,
My parents they adore me, no other child but me.
Unbeknownst to friends or parents, from them I stole my way,
And steered my course to London, and bitter be the day.






And when I got to London a fair lady met me there
And offered me in wages to live with her one year;
And offered me in wages fine house and fine land,
If I'd give consent and marry her, she'd be at my command.






I said : Dear Miss, excuse me, I cannot wed you both,
I'm promised to pretty Polly and bounded with an oath.
Then Miss she grew angry and from me fled away,
A-swearing by all her vengeance she'd be my overthrow.

I stepped out one evening to take the pleasant air,
I find Miss in the garden, a-viewing the lilies fair.
The gold rings on her fingers, as she come past by me,
She dropped them in my pocket, and for it I must die.

They put me on a east bound train one cold December day,
And every station I rode through I heard the people say:
Yonder goes a young man, in iron chains he's bound,
For some crime or other he's bound for Charlestown.

Here is my dear old father, he's pleading at the bar,
Likewise my aged mother pulling out grey locks of hair,
A-pulling out those old grey locks, the tears come trinkling down.
Son, O son, what have you done ? You're bound for Charlestown.






Then I was executed and on the gallows hung,
My friends and my relations all round me they did mourn,
And my father and my mother all round me they did cry.
Farewell, my dear old parents, now I am bound to die.

THE CORNWALL APPRENTICE

(Noted by Cecil Sharp from Mrs. Mary Gibson at Marion, N.C, in 1918)

I was brought up in Cornwall all in a high degree,
My parents they adored me, had no child only me.
I ripped, I roved, I rambled where-e'er my fancies led,
Till I became a 'prentice, and then my joys they fled.

The man that I was bound to he did not use me well,
I formed a resolution with whom not long to dwell.
Unbeknown to my poor parents from him I ran away,
I steered my course to London, and curs-ed be the day.

There were a lady in London, she chanced to spy me there,
She offered me great payments to dwell with me a year.
With her kind words and promises with her I did agree,
To go with her to London and stay with her a year.

I hadn't been in London but six months and a day,
When my foolish mistress grew very fond of me.
Her gold and silver, houses and her land,
If I'd consent to marry her, should be at my command.

O no, my honoured mistress, I cannot wed you,
For I have made a promise besides a solemn vow
To wed with none but Betsy, my beauteous honoured maid;
Pray excuse me, honoured mistress, she has my heart betrayed.

One morning as I walked out to take the pleasant air,
My mistress followed after me to view the lilies fair.
Gold rings off her fingers as she did pass me by
She slipped them in my pocket, and for them I must die.











The sheriff he came taken me, it was useless to say.
He took me up to justice and tried me before the mayor
He took me up to justice and to the gallows tree.
O Lord, reward my mistress, she surely wronged me.

The people they all came flocking in to see me in my life,
And there stood pretty Betsy, my own intended wife.
Farewell to sin and sorrow, I'll bid you all adieu,
Likewise fair pretty Betsy, I'll die for loving you.

The tunes are close, but both are interesting variants, so they're worth putting up.  Until they get to the  Mudcat Midi Pages,  midis can be heard via the  South Riding Folk Network  site:

Sheffield Apprentice

Cornwall Apprentice


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cornwall Apprentice
From: Joe Offer
Date: 31 Jan 11 - 10:39 PM

"The Sheffield Apprentice" is the song for February 1 on Jon Boden's A Folk Song a Day project.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cornwall Apprentice
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 05:05 PM

"The Sheffield Apprentice" is also "The song" featured together with "The singer" and "The sources" in the autumn 2011 issue of english dance & song. The singer, Martin Simpson, is there quoted as saying that it is "a brilliant preservation of a British ballad in the States. I don't know of any English version of it".

In fact there are plenty. The Roud Index has 127 records for this song, many of them broadsides, but also versions collected by Grainger, Broadwood and others. In the revival I have heard version(s) (with the reference to Sheffield, not Cornwall as in the American versions) from singers including Harry Boardman, Lou Killen and Pete Wood.

Richard


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Mudcat time: 22 August 1:42 AM EDT

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