The Little Apprentice (MacEdward Leach)

Now once I having a little 'prentice,
To tell his name it was Richard Ryan;
His father bound him to me apprentice,
All for to plow on the raging main.

This little boy was young and foolish,
And the captain's orders he disobeyed;
It was to the maintop gallantmast head they lashed,
And they left him there for seven long days.

When the seven long days they were past and over,
This little boy for mercy loud did cry;
"May the good God grant me one drop of water,
Down from your high and far lofty skies.

"You shipmates all then take pity on me,
And grant to me but one bite to eat;
Grant to me but one bare morsel,
That lies mouldering in your ship below."

The crew they seemed to be very angry,
But not one word they dare not say;
It was in his cabin they close confound him,
Until they arrived at Liverpool quay.

Then they applied to the court martial,
'Twas guilty conscience that brought them there;
"Oh, hang ye must for the treacherous murder,
For what he done to his 'prentice dear."

To hear the cries of his tender mother,
Would rent a heart, a heart of stone;
To see him torn between four horses,
For what he done to his 'prentice dear.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad, The Captain's Apprentice ....####

Sung in 1950 by John Power [1879-1955] of Tors Cove , NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).


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