Watercresses (Kenneth Peacock)

I met a brisk young damsel
come tripping down this way,
Her voice had been the clearest
that ever I did hear;
She had a bunch of early onions
and a half a pint of beer,
Some pickles and a bunch of watercresses.

I boldly steppèd to her
and this to her did say,
"I'm on my way for Cumberland
can you instruct the way?"
"Oh yes, sir, oh yes, sir,"
she speedily did say,
"Take a turn at your left
and go down the other way."

I bowed and thanked her
as I walked by her side,
And oftentimes I wished
that she was my lawful bride,
Where I popped to her the question
half in earnest, half in joke,
And those very words now unto her I spoke:

"I got cows, I got sheep,
I got pigs, I got geeses,
Besides I have a dairy full
of butter-milk and cheeses;
If you'll consent to Missus,
now, fair lady of all eases,
We'll spend our time in love and watercresses."

"Since you are so generous, young man,"
now she did say,
"Prepare the matrimony
and I'll appoint the day;
I've a wedding dress to buy
and some little bills to pay."
He pulled out a sovereign
her debts for to defray.

Early the next morning a letter I received:
'Kind sir, for disappointing you
now I will 'pologize,
But when you ask a partner
in a partnership for life,
Be sure to choose a maiden
or a widow, not a wife.

'I've a husband of my own
and his name is William Gray,
When I can well afford it
your sovereign back I'll pay,
For to think that I would marry you
all on the first of May,
Sure you must have been
greener than watercresses.'

####.... Author unknown. Variant of an early 19th-century British broadside ballad, Water Cresses, published by H Such (London) sometime between 1863 and 1885, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 11(4046) ....####
This variant collected in 1958 by Kenneth Peacock from from Levi Everett Bennett [b.1899] of St Paul's, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports , Vol 1, pp.320-321, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Another variant was collected by MacEdward Leach, and published as #66, Water Cresses in Folk Ballads And Songs Of The Lower Labrador Coast by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.


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