Story Behind The Song
This early 19th century Norfolk robber ballad was first collected by the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams from Mr Anderson of King's Lynn. It was published in Cecil Sharp's English Country Folk Songs.
||Folk - Traditional, Folk - General
||Medium (111 - 130)
|| Crime, Theft, History, Past
||1700 - 1799
Come all you good people that go out a-tippling,
I pray you give attention and listen to me song.
I'll sing you a ditty of a jolly bold robber,
Stood seven feet high, in proportion quite strong.
Well he robbed Lawyer Morgan and old Lady Dawkings,
Five hundred bright guineas from each one of them;
And as he was a-strolling he spied a young sailor
And bold as a lion he slewed up to him.
"Hand over your money, you saucy young sailor,
There's plenty of bulk in your pockets I see."
"Aye aye," said the sailor, "I've plenty of money,
But while I have life I've got none for thee.
"Well I just left my ship, gave the press gang the slip,
And I'm off up to London my sweetheart to see.
With forty bright sovereigns to pay our sweet lodgings,
So I pray you, bold robber, don't take them from me."
But the robber caught hold of this gallant young sailor,
With a blow like a pole-axe felled him to the ground.
"Aye aye," said the sailor, "You struck me quite heavy,
But now I'll endeavour to repay you in kind."
So then both they stripped and like tigers they skipped,
And they fought life for life like soldiers in the field.
But the ninety-seventh meeting it was their completing,
But this gallant young sailor the robber he killed.
And down then he looked on this blood-stained old robber,
"I hope you'll forgive me, old fellow," says he.
"But if I had just lifted one thousand bright guineas,
Well I'm damned if I'd have stopped a poor sailor like me."
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