“The Apprentice Boy”


The apprentice loves a noble lady. When her parents learn, they send him away. But he prospers in a foreign land and returns to England to claim his bride. At first she rejects him, thinking him a nobleman, but he reveals his identity and the two are wed.


In Leach-Labrador and the Bodleian broadside the sailor wins a lottery.

Do not confuse this with another set of broadsides "The Lovers Meeting"/"Convent Garden"/"The Convent Garden Rambler"/"Cupid's Garden" which begins "As down in [Cupid's/Convent] garden with pleasure I did go, All for to view the flowers that in the garden grew" at Bodleian. This one has a sailor and Nancy, no apprentice, no lady, no lottery, and he sails away promising to return: see "Cupid's Garden (I) (Covent Garden I; Lovely Nancy III)"- BS

Cross references

  • cf. "Castle Gardens" (theme)


  • Bodleian, Harding B 17(156a), "The Lady Who Fell in Love with a Prentice Boy", J. Evans (London), 1780-1812; also Firth c.18(119), "The Lady Who Fell in Love with a Prentice Boy"; Harding B 21(35), "The Lady and 'Prentice Boy"; Harding B 28(137), 2806 c.17(85), "Cupid's Garden" ("As down in Cupid's garden with pleasure I did walk, I heard two loyal lovers so sweetly for to talk"); Harding B 28(40), "Cupid's Garden" or "The 'Prentice Boy"


  1. Laws M12, "The Apprentice Boy"
  2. Randolph 121, "The Apprentice Boy" (1 text)
  3. SHenry H729, pp. 446-447, "The Apprentice Boy/Covent Garden" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Creighton-SNewBrunswick 26, "Cupid's Garden" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. LPound-ABS, 31, pp. 74-76, "The Prentice Boy" (1 text)
  6. BrownII 104, "The Sailor Boy" (5 texts, mostly short, plus excerpts from 4 more and mention of 2 more and 1 very short fragment; of which "L" appears to mix this song with Laws K12)
  7. Leach-Labrador 22, "The Apprentice Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  8. Mackenzie 25, "The Prentice Boy" (1 text)
  9. Creighton-NovaScotia 45, "Prentice Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  10. Manny/Wilson 87, "The Prentice Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  11. Chappell-FSRA 70, "Cupid's Garden" (1 text)
  12. Roud #903
  13. BI, LM12


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1813 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 17(156a))
Found in: US(Ap,So,SE) Canada(Mar,Newf) Britain(England) Ireland