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Collection of eighty street ballads: Sheffield Park

Collection of eighty street ballads on forty sheets, mostly with a woodcut printed at London, the majority by J. Catnach (1820ñ1830). London: n.p., n.d.

University of Minnesota Libraries. WILSON Rare Books Quarto 820.1 C683.

Half sheet pasted to album leaf 1, on right side.

Image: Vignette wood engraving showing lovers standing and holding hands, before a tree and cottage to the left (birds on the ground in the foreground), and a sailboat on water to the right in the background.

Sheffield Park

I N Sheffield park, O there did dwell,
A brisk young lad, I lov'd him well,
He courted me my heart to gain,
He is gone and left me full of pain.

I went up stairs to make the bed,
I laid me down and nothing said,
My mistress came and to me said,
What is the matter with you my maid.

O mistress, mistress you little know,
The pain and sorrow I undergo,
Its put your hand on my left breast,
My panting heart can take no rest.

My mistress away from me did go,
Some help, some help I will have for you,
No help, no help, no help I crave,
Sweet William brought me to the grave.

So take this letter to him with speed,
And give it to him if he can read,
And bring me an answer without delay,
For he has stole my heart away.

She took the letter immediately,
He read it over while she stood by.
And soon he did the letter burn,
Leaving this maid to make her mourn.

How can she think how fond I'd be,
That I could fancy none but she,
Man was not made for one alone,
I take delight to hear her mourn.

Then she return'd immediately,
And found her maid as cold as clay;
Beware young maids don't love in vain,
For love has broke her heart in twain.

She gather'd the green grass for her bed,
And a flowery pillow for her head,
The leaves that blow from tree to tree,
Shall be a covering over thee<.>

O cruel man, I find thou art,
For breaking my own child's heart,
Now she in Abraham's bosom sleep,
While thy tormented soul shall weep.

<Pit>ts, Printer, wholesale Toy and Marble warehouse
6, Gt. St. Andrew Sreet, Seven Dials.

Basic transcription by Brett Single.
Pointed brackets mark conjectural readings and emendations.


Not mentioned by Leslie Shepard in John Pitts, Ballad Printer of Seven Dials, London, 1765ñ1844 (London: Private Libraries Association, 1969). A presumably different printing is listed in Catnach's Catalogue (1832), 5. The Digital Tradition Folk Song Database has posted a variant text from The Seeds of Love: A Comprehensive Anthology of Folk Songs of the British Isles, ed. Stephen Sedley (London: Essex Music, 1967), "collated from broadsides in Dorset and Essex."

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Michael Hancher
Department of English, University of Minnesota
URL: <http://umn.edu/home/mh/sheffield.html>
Comments to: mh@umn.edu
Created 7 April 1997