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The Bailiff's Daughter of Islington
Last updated: 22.04.17
"The Bailiff's Daughter" was one of my mother's favourite songs which she sang for her own pleasure as a young mother. Her version which can be found in A Mum's (Mostly Musical) Memories has five verses is quite in variance with T. Percy's "Reliques of English Poetry" (1765) with its full-blown 13 verses given in Andrew Gant's Folk Songs of the British Isles
The song is a simple tale of a young girl refusing her lover's advances. The thwarted lover departs for far regions and returns some seven years later to claim his bride (not before a few minor hurdles by the way!). What verse can express joy so much as the final verse in the Percy version to whit:
"Oh farewell grief, and welcome joy,
ten thousand times therefore;
for I have found mine own true love,
whom I thought I should never see more."
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There was a youth, a well beloved youth and he was a squire's son.
He loved the Bailiff's daughter dear, who lived in Islington.
But she was coy and never would on him her love bestow.
So he took him off to a far country where no man him would know.

When he had been there seven long years and never his love did see.
Missing line ....... the Bailiff's daughter of Islington

She's dead, Sir, long ago. Then take my horse and bridle also.
And I will away to some far country where no man shall one know.
Oh stay, oh stay, thou goodly youth, she is not dead,
She is here alive and ready to be thy bride.