Sung by: Ollie Gilbert
Recorded in spring 1963

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“Light down, light down, pretty Polly,
Light down to your knees.
Those clothes too fine and costly
To lie and rot in the sea, sea, sea,
To lie and rot in the sea.”

“Oh, turn your back to me, Willy dear,
Turn your face to the sea.”
She caught him around his little neat waist,
And tossed him into the sea, sea, sea,
And tossed him into the sea.

“Help me out, Pretty Polly,
Help me out of the sea,
And we will go to yonders town,
And married we will be, be, be,
Married we will be.”

“Lay there, lay there, you wicked villain;
I’d rather be you as me,
For the six king’s daughters you have drowned,
And the seventh you shall be, be, be,
The seventh you shall be.”

She lit up on her milk-white steed,
And off a dapple gray.
She rode ‘til she came to her father’s house,
Three hours ‘twas ‘fore day, day, day,
Three hours ‘twas ‘fore day.

“What’s the matter, what’s the matter, Pretty Polly,
Raised so long before day?
Is a cat at my cage door, threading off my life?
I’ll call Pretty Polly to drive it away,
In the length of the long summer day,
In the length of the long summer day.

“Hush up, hush up, Pretty Polly;
Don’t you tell no false on me.
I’ll have you cage of the finest beaten gold
Hung on the high willow tree, tree, tree,
Hung on the high willow tree.”

Also found in Child, #4, “Lady Isabel and the Elf-Knight”; Randolph, Vol. I, #2, “Pretty Polly Ann”; Brown, Vol. II, #2, “Lady Isabel and the Elf-Knight.”

All Songs Recorded by John Quincy Wolf, Jr., unless otherwise noted

The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection
Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas
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