—— folk family and jam

Pretty Polly

Pretty Polly pretty Polly Won't you come along with me
Pretty Polly pretty Polly Won't you come along with me
Before we get married some pleasures to see

Well she got up behind him and away they did go
Over the mountains to the valley so low

They had not gone very far, when what did they spy
A new-dug grave with a spade lying by

Oh Willy, Oh Willy, I'm afraid of your ways
Afraid you will lead my poor body astray

Pretty Polly, pretty Polly, you guessed just about right
I dug on your grave the best part of last night

Well she threw her arms around him and trembled with fear
Saying How could you kill a girl that was to you so dear

Well there's no time to talk now, no time to stand
He pulled out a dagger all in his right hand

He stabbed her to the heart her heart's blood it did flow
And into the grave prety Polly did go

He threw a little earth over her and started for home
Leaving nothing behind but the wild birds to moan.



From  Did this come from Pete Seeger perhaps?  He plays a version not unlike ours on his American ballads collection.  Probably it came through Dave and Steve - that's what I have noted in my song book.

Another of these songs about cold-hearted males killing their sweethearts - the same family as the banks of the Ohio.  As Little Omie Wise.  The Knight from the North Country.  Originally perhaps a broadside based on a real event. At any rate it has a number of versions.  In some of them Willy (Billy) goes to jail; goes mad and dies, tries to get away.
One version (Stanley brothers, 1988) has the following scene at the graveside:
She knelt down before him a pleading for her life
Let me be a single girl if I can't be your wife

Eric Darling (2006) and most other versions have the final verse
A debt to the devil Willy must pay
For killing Pretty Polly and running away.

It had its attractions as a beginner's song, since it all goes in Aminor.