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The Errant Apprentice

(Words: Bill Watkins, Music: Andy M. Stewart & Gerry O'Beirne, Strathmore Music. Fiddle part arranged and adapted by Jonathan Moorman.)

[Song Brook]

Key of A (Capo 2, Open G Tuning - DBGDGD)

As you will hear there are some wonderful turns of phrase and clever rhymes in this song. Bill Watkins creates a little movie in which you feel like you are a fly on on the wall. Thanks to my good friend Chuck Peterson for introducing me to the song several years ago.

When I was a young apprentice
And less than compos-mentis
I took leave of all my senses
With a maid I fell in love.
Her ringlets so entwined me
Aphrodite's smile did blind me
Cupid's arrow struck behind me
And her father owned a pub
It was there I met my nemesis
In her father's licenses premises,
Like a seraphim of Genesis
Sat Mary Ann Maguire,
Arrayed in fine apparel
Astride a porter-barrel
She looked the sort of girl
That would fill you with desire

All the turtle doves were cooin'
As I took to my wooin'
Her loveliness pursuin'
In the Springtime of that year.
But she thought I should be older,
And more gallant and much bolder
In the uniform of a soldier,
It's then she'd hold me dear.
In extremis and euphoria
I joined with Queen Victoria
For a spell of death or gloria
A-fightin' with the Boers.
To the wind I threw all caution,
To return with fame and fortune
And together make a portion
Of matrimony's chores.

On the gravestone of her mother
Oh, she swore she loved no other,
But I did soon discover
That she'd played me for a berk
For Lady Luck had beached me,
And intelligence had reached me,
Whilst I'd been overseas
She had married to a Turk
Twas then that I deserted,
To find the girl who flirted,
Back to Ireland I reverted
For my jealousy was roused,
In Maguire's pub in Derry,
I found him makin' merry
With his arms around my Mary
As together they caroused

So I took my time and waited
Until his thirst was sated
As home he navigated
Through the streets of Derry Town
At his lodgings he stood knockin'
And whilst they were unlockin'
I put a stone into a stockin'
On his head I brought it down
Twas then the night's serenity
Was rent with loud obsenity,
And Ottoman profanities
I couldn't understand
With an oath he made to grab me,
With full intent to stab me
But as he tried to shish-kebab me
I was screamin' up the Strand

All around the town's perimeter
He chased me with a scimitar
A powerful passion-limiter
To an errant in his pride.
Through the Waterside he chased me,
To the Bridge of Foyle he raced me
And at Derry Quay he faced me
So I jumped into the tide
For bravery's no virtue
When some heathen's tryin' to hurt you
And all noble thoughts desert you
When you see his curly knife.
For there's many things worth tryin' for
And occasionally worth lyin' for
But there's bugger all worth dyin' for
So I'll stick to the single life
Ah, there's many things worth tryin' for
And occasionally worth lyin' for
But there's bugger all worth dying for
So I'll stick to the single life