The Errant Apprentice


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 licensed premises
Like the Seraphim of Genesis
Sat Mary Anne Maguire
Arrayed in fine apparel
Astride a porter barrel
She looked the kind of girl that
Would fill you with desire

All the turtle doves were cooing
As I took to my wooing
Her Loveliness pursuing
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
’tis then she’d hold me dear
In extremis and euphoria
I joined with Queen Victoria
For a spell of death or gloria
A-fighting with the Boers
To the wind I threw all caution
I’ll return with fame and fortune
And together make a portion
Of matrimony’s chores

On the gravestone of her mother
She swore she loved no other
But I was to soon discover
That she 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
Well me, I then deserted
For to find the girl who’d flirted
Back to Ireland I reverted
For my jealously was roused
In Maguire’s Pub in Derry
I found him making merry
With his arms around my Mary
As together they caroused

So I took my time and waited
Until his thirst was sated
And home he navigated
Through the streets of Derry town
At his lodgins he stood knocking
And whilst they were unlocking
I put a stone into a stocking
On his head I brought it down
‘Twas then the night’s serenity
Was rent with loud obscenity
And Ottoman profanity
That I couldn’t understand
With an oath he made to grab me
With full intent to stab me
But as he tried to kebab me
I was screaming up the strand

All around the town’s perimeter
He chased me with his 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
Sure bravery’s no virtue
When some heathen’s trying to hurt you
And all noble thoughts desert you
When you see his curly knife
For there’s many things worth trying for
And occasionally worth lying for
But there’s bugger-all worth dying for
So I’ll stick to the soldier’s life

Author: Uisce úr

Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done, The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.

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