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Song

Pretty Polly

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Publication date
1750
Language
English
Comments
"Pretty Polly", "The Gosport Tragedy" or "The Cruel Ship's Carpenter" or "The Ghost Ship" (Laws P36, Roud 15) is a traditional English-language folk song found in the British Isles, Canada, and the Appalachian region of North America, among other places. The song is a murder ballad, telling of a young woman lured into the forest where she is killed and buried in a shallow grave. Many variants of the story have the villain as a ship's carpenter who promises to marry Polly but murders her when she becomes pregnant. When he goes back to sea, either he is haunted by her ghost, confesses to the murder, goes mad and dies, or the ship will not sail, he denies the murder and is ripped to pieces by her ghost.
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