As I lived in service in Rosemary Lane,
I gained the goodwill of my master and dame;
Sweet William came by one night for to lie;
And that's the beginning of my misery.
Now he called for a candle to light him to bed,
Likewise a silk cap to tie round his head,
For to tie round his head as he used to do,
And he said, "Pretty Nancy, will you come to bed, too?"
So poor little Nancy she thought it no harm,
She jumped into bed for to keep herself warm,
Oh! what they done there they will never declare,
But they wished that short night had been seven long year.
Oh! early next morning sweet William arose,
And into her bosom threw handfuls of gold,
"Oh! this I will give you and more will I give,
If you'll be my true love as long as I live."
Oh! if you have a baby, you put it out to nurse,
And sit like a lady with gold in your purse;
With gold in your purse and milk in your breast,
Oh! that's what you got from sweet William from the West.
Oh! if it be a son it shall fight for the king,
And if it be a daughter it shall wear a gold ring,
It shall wear a gold ring and its top-knot shall blow,
And that's what you got from sweet William, true blue."
abc | midi | pdf
Source: Purslow, F, (1968), The Wanton Seed, EDFS, London
Frank Purslow's notes are as follows:
Hammond D 153 from William Bartlett in Wimborne Union, Dorset . Although getting on for 200 years old this is aother song that is lasting well ad a good proportion of country singers know it in one form or another. That well-known mongrel Home Boys Home is the result of cross breeding between this song and aother called The North Country Maid or The Oak ad the Ash. Bartlett's tune is a relative of that usually associated with Henry Martin - see The Lass of London City. Rosemary Lane - modern name Royal Mint Street - was famous during the 18th and 19th centuries as a boarding house area and as a street market.
Roud: 269 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six
Related Songs: The Servant of Rosemary Lane [Rosemary Lane][He Called for a Candle] (thematic)