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The Bailiff's Daughter of Islington*

There was a youth, and a well belov'd youth,
And he was a esquire's son,
He loved the bailiff's daughter dear,
That lived in Islington.

She was coy, and she would not believe
That he did love her so,
No, nor at any time she would
Any countenance to him show.

But when his friends did understand
His fond and foolish mind,
They sent him up to fair London,
An apprentice for to bind.

And when he had been seven long years,
And his love he had not seen,
"Many a tear have I shed for her sake
"When she little thought of me."

All the maids of Islington
Went forth to sport and play,
All but the bailiff's daughter,
She secretly stole away.

She put off her gown of gray,
And put on her puggish attire.
She's up to fair London gone
Her true love to require.

As she went along the road,
The weather being hot and dry,
There was she  aware of her true love,
At length came riding by.

She stepped to him as red as any rose,
And took him by the bridle ring:
"I pray you, kind sir, give me one penny,
To ease my weary limb."

"I prithee, sweet heart, canst thou tell me
Whether thou  dost know
The bailiff's daughter of Islington?"
"She's dead, sir, long ago."

"Then I will sell my goodly steed,
My saddle and my bow;
I will unto some far countree
Where no man doth me know."

"O stay, O stay, thou goodly youth,
She's alive, she is not dead;
Here she standeth by thy side,
And is ready to be thy bride."

"O farewell grief, and welcome joy,
Ten thousand times and more,
For now I have seen my own true love
That I tho't I should have seen no more."

*This is Islington near King's Lynn - not north London.

Norfolk Poems




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