“Pretty Little Miss”


The singer courts a young girl, eventually talking his way into her bed. In the middle of the night he prepares to leave. She reminds him of his promise to marry her. He tells her that sleeping with him was her choice. She bewails her fate


I place [the MacColl/Seeger song "Too Young"] with "Pretty Little Miss" (Laws P18) because MacColl & Seeger do, explicitly citing Laws. But it has few of the plot elements of the canonical Laws version, and tacks on a couple of stanzas that I'd swear came from "Blackwaterside." - PJS

Laws himself says the song has "much textual instability," even though he quotes only four versions -- two from Sharp and two fragments from JFSS. And his sample stanzas do look a bit like "Blackwaterside."

For additional notes on the problems with this piece, see the notes to "Seven Years O'er Young." - RBW

Cross references


  1. Laws P18, "Pretty Little Miss"
  2. MacSeegTrav 67, "Too Young" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. SharpAp 107, "Good Morning, My Pretty Little Miss" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  4. Sharp/Karpeles-80E 49, "Good-Morning My Pretty Little Miss" (1 text, 1 tune -- an abridged composite version)
  5. Cambiaire, pp. 57-58, "A Gentleman's Meeting (Down by Yon Riverside" (1 text, which starts out as "Pretty Little Miss" [Laws P18] but ends with 'The Foggy Dew (The Bugaboo)" [Laws O3]; Roud lists it as a version of Laws P18, but it appears that the larger part of the text is O3 -- though the material in the middle could be from either)
  6. DT 500, PRETMISS
  7. Roud #564
  8. BI, LP18


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1916 (Cecil Sharp collection); +1818 (Garret, _Right Choyse and Merrie Book of Garlands I_)
Found in: US(Ap,SE,So) Britain(England)