The Errant Apprentice
Bill Watkins
Words by Bill Watkins, music by Andy M. Stewart & Gerry O'Beirne
Listen to a bit of the song, courtesy of Andy M. Stewart's web site

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 jealousy 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 lodgin's 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 single life.