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Lyr Req: Pretty Polly / lost verse

DigiTrad:
PRETTY POLLY (2)
THE CRUEL SHIP'S CARPENTER
THE GHOST SONG
THE SHIP'S CARPENTER


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Gosport Tragedy/ Cruel Ship's Carpenter (183)
Lyr Req:Pretty Polly (from The Dillards) (8)
pretty polly - Cruel Ship's Carpenter? (14)
Lyr Req: Pretty Polly? (26)
Lyr/Chords Req: Pretty Polly (Stanley Brothers) (14)
Lyr/Chords Add: Pretty Polly (5)
Lyr Add: Pretty Polly (#311) (2)
Lyr Req: Little Molly / Pretty Polly / etc. (5)
Info Req: Polly's Love (Waterson-Carthy) (6)


John P 02 Oct 01 - 12:07 AM
Joe Offer 02 Oct 01 - 12:17 AM
Mrrzy 02 Oct 01 - 08:53 AM
GUEST,Pete 02 Oct 01 - 01:50 PM
Abby Sale 02 Oct 01 - 03:42 PM
John P 03 Oct 01 - 09:34 PM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 04 Oct 01 - 05:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Oct 01 - 06:51 PM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Oct 01 - 08:32 PM
Abby Sale 04 Oct 01 - 08:44 PM
Stewie 05 Oct 01 - 07:51 PM
Mark Clark 06 Oct 01 - 12:09 AM
John P 06 Oct 01 - 09:34 AM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Oct 01 - 01:50 PM
Mark Clark 06 Oct 01 - 01:59 PM
Mark Clark 06 Oct 01 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,Clint Keller 07 Oct 01 - 01:13 AM
Charley Noble 07 Oct 01 - 09:50 AM
Abby Sale 07 Oct 01 - 10:33 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: PRETTY POLLY
From: John P
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 12:07 AM

My wife is looking for a verse(s) to Pretty Polly that she heard on the radio some time ago. The rest of the song was mostly as she sings it, as given below. The version she heard on the radio had an extra verse or two, about how Willie was haunted by the sound of the wild birds for the rest of his life. Anyone know what I'm talking about?

Thanks,
John Peekstok

Pretty Polly

Polly, pretty Polly, come go along with me
Before we get married, some pleasure to see.

She got up behind him and away they did go.
Over the hills and the valleys below.

Polly looked around at the wild countryside
And saw a new-dug grave and a spade lying by.

Willie, dear Willie, I'm scared of your ways
I'm afraid you will lead my poor body astray.

Polly, pretty Polly, you guessed it just about right
I dug on your grave the longest part of last night.

She threw her arms around him and trembled with fear
Oh how can you kill me when I love you so dear?

He stabbed her to the heart and her blood it did flow
And into the grave pretty Polly did go.

He threw a little dirt over her and turned to go home
Leaving no one behind but the wild birds to mourn.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Polly / lost verse
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 12:17 AM

Hi, John - what you posted is very similar to Version 2 (click) in the Digital Tradition. I checked a number of versions, and couldn't find the verses you were seeking. It has Digital Tradition designator #311. If you put #311 in the Digitrad and Forum Search or the blue search box, you'll find several versions, including some I didn't check. Good luck.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Polly / lost verse
From: Mrrzy
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 08:53 AM

I always heard that as "but the wild woods to moan" so I will have to re-listen.


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Subject: Lyr Add: PRETTY POLLY
From: GUEST,Pete
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 01:50 PM

Don't know anything about him being haunted, but here's a version from "The Folksinger's Wordbook" (Oak Publications), which I bought via the net.

Note the additional last verse, which is also on the Bert Jansch version (on Jack Orion).
[petejennings@supanet.com]

I courted Pretty Polly the live long night
And left her next morning before it was light.

Polly, pretty Polly, come go along with me
Before we get married, some pleasures to see.

She jumped up behind him and away they did go.
Over the hills and the valleys below.

They went a little further and what did they spy
But a new-dug grave with a spade lying by.

Oh Willie, oh Willie, I'm afraid of your ways
I'm afraid you will lead my poor body astray.

Polly, pretty Polly, you've guessed about right
I dug on your grave for the most of last night.

He throwed her on the ground and she broke into tears
She throwed her arms around him and trembled with fear.

There's no time to talk now, there's no time to stand
He drew out his knife all in his right hand.

He stabbed her in the heart and the blood it did flow
And into the grave pretty Polly did go.

He threw a little dirt over her and started for home
Leaving none back behind but the wild birds to moan

Now a debt to the Devil, Willie must pay
For killing pretty Polly and running away

HTML line breaks added --JoeClone, 29-Nov-01.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Polly / lost verse
From: Abby Sale
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 03:42 PM

John P: I'm not finding your version but don't forget to look at versions of it called "The (Cruel) Ship's Carpenter." I've reposted my favorite version at Pretty Polly

Mystical endings do exist.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Polly / lost verse
From: John P
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 09:34 PM

Thanks for all the ideas and pointers, everyone. I guess the verse that Anna is looking for is going to be one of those long term mysteries. Maybe she'll just have to write something that does the job.

JP


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Polly / lost verse
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 05:55 PM

We had this verse, which sometimes began the song, and other times ended it (as though it's her ghost seen):

O where's Pretty Polly? O yonder she stands
O where's Pretty Polly: O yonder she stands
With rings on her fingers- her lily white hands.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Polly / lost verse
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 06:51 PM

I've never thought of the Ship's Carpenter as a variant of Pretty Polly, or vice versa. A woman gets betrayed and destroyed by her sometime lover, but that's about all the songs have got in common.

I suppose you could develop a song like Pretty Polly out of one aspect of the Ship's Carpenter story, but I've never seen any bridging versions to suggest that that is where it came from. It'd be interesting to know if there are any.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Polly / lost verse
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 08:32 PM

I've put a list of links into the thread Abby started, and linked to earlier in this thread; some of them show quite clearly the development of The Cruel Ship's Carpenter into Polly's Love/ Pretty Polly.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Polly / lost verse
From: Abby Sale
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 08:44 PM

JohnP: Hi. You may want to check the song I linked above and the many good links Malcolm linked there. Start, maybe, with the Bodley one at the bottom. For betrayed & destroyed read falsely promised to marry, lured to the woods then murdered & dumped in a lonely grave. Commonly she suspects her fate & pleads for her life and he explains he's been digging her grave all night & doesn't want to waste it. Often she is a little suspicious when they never arrive at his friends' & especially so when she spots the shovel.

There are a number of songs called "Pretty Polly" but I think the usual one follows the story pretty well. Without, as has been said, the ghost element. Usually.

Possibly you've mixed it up with the "House Carpenter?" I've done that. I just try to allways call it "The Deamon Lover." That helps.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Polly / lost verse
From: Stewie
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 07:51 PM

Hi John, I also posted this to your query on oldtimey newsgroup - it may be what you are looking for. The last stanza of the version on Dirk Powell's 'If I Go Ten Thousand Miles' (Rounder CD 0384) is unusual. Powell noted that he learned the version from his grandfather who had claimed 'these events took place right up around Greenup, KY'. Dirk says that, not being an historian, he 'wouldn't speculate on such things'. The vocal is solo - by Tim O'Brien:

William he travelled to far distant lands (x2)
And the farther he travelled the faster he ran
All that he saw was the face of his love (x2)
And all that he heard was the cry of the dove

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Polly / lost verse
From: Mark Clark
Date: 06 Oct 01 - 12:09 AM

I've always liked Jean's verse but I also used to hear it with these as the last two verses:

Polly, Pretty Polly O yonder she stands,
Polly, Pretty Polly O yonder she stands,
No ring on her finger, her lilly white hand.

No ring on her finger to shine to me like gold,
No ring on her finger to shine to me like gold,
I'm going to see Pretty Polly before she gets too cold.

I've never known whether they were real verses or whether the singer was just having some fun with the song.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Polly / lost verse
From: John P
Date: 06 Oct 01 - 09:34 AM

Stewie, The verses you posted look to me like they fit the description of what my wife was looking for, but she says they aren't the same as what she heard. These singers! So hard to please! Even though we haven't found what we wanted on this thread yet, we are seeimg lots of great endings for the song.

Abby Sale, I've never been in danger of mixing up "Pretty Polly" with "The House Carpenter". Very different songs. "The Cruel Ship's Carpenter" is obviously the same song, but usually has a mystical/ghostly ending. I've always like the decidely non-mystical story of the version of "Pretty Polly" that Anna sings. She wasn't looking for a ghostly ending for the song. When I said in my original post that Willie was "haunted by the sound of the wild birds for the rest of his life" I was thinking more of a psychological haunting than a ghostly visitation.

Thanks, everyone, for all the versions, links, verses, comments. I've been having a lot of fun reading all these slightly different takes on the story, since the way that the words are put together is one of the things that attracts me to tradtional folk songs. Mark Clark, I've never thought there was such a thing as unreal verses to folk songs.

John Peekstok


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Polly / lost verse
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Oct 01 - 01:50 PM

Yes, I'd got my carpenters mixed up.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Polly / lost verse
From: Mark Clark
Date: 06 Oct 01 - 01:59 PM

John, That occurred to me as well... just after I pressed the submit button. Of course I only meant they may not be &ldq;traditional&rdq; verses. <g>

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Polly / lost verse
From: Mark Clark
Date: 06 Oct 01 - 02:29 PM

... or do you say &ldquo;traditional&rdquo;?

Nuts. Mutter, mutter. Sorry for the bad HTML above.

      - Mark


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Subject: Lyr Add: PRETTY POLLY
From: GUEST,Clint Keller
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 01:13 AM

My grandmother was born in the 1880's and raised by her grandmother, who was born about 1830. She used to sing a bare-bones Pretty Polly like this:

"O Polly, pretty Polly
Come go long with me
And by eight o'clock tomorrow
My bride you will be."

They rode over hills,
over valleys so deep
Until that fair maiden
began for to weep,

Saying
"William, dear William, you're a-leading me astray
A-purpose my innocent life to betray."

"O Polly, prettyPolly
You've just guessed it right;
I was digging your grave
All last night —

"See yonder it lies with the spade standing by;
There is the place where your body will lie."

He was taken with fits
The very next night
And died in the morning
Before 'twas daylight,

Saying
"Polly, pretty Polly, over yonder she stands
With her rings on the fingers of her lily-white hands."

Kind of a two-part tune; the verses with four short lines go with part A, the ones with two long line go with part B. It's supernatural or not, as you will.

Clint Keller


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Polly / lost verse
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 09:50 AM

Abby - I love the mariner version of the song. Glad the link was revived.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Polly / lost verse
From: Abby Sale
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 10:33 AM

Charlie: Thanks. But I strongly recommend you hear it sung by Peter Bellamy or President Taylor or anyone who uses this tune. A story seems to pop out that was lost to me in the "song" versions common in the US. That is, the US "Pretty Polly" is so familiar as an old-timey piece that I think much (or all) of the ballad disintegrates. Going back to a fine ballad-singer brings its starkness out. And, in this example, the whole difference between a "song" and a "ballad" even when they have essentially the same text.

I think so, anyway.


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