Ratcliffe Highway

Ratcliffe Highway

As I was a-walking along Ratcliffe Highway
The recruiting party come a-beating the drum
I was listed and attested and before I did know
It's to the king's duty I was forced to go

Well I quickly escaped and I thought myself free
Till my cruel companions informed against me
I was quickly followed after and brought back with speed
In chains I was hung, heavy irons on me

Court martial, court martial, they held against me
And the sentence they gave me was three hundred and three
May the lord have mercy on them for their sad cruelty
For now the king's duty lies heavy on me

So again I escaped and I thought myself free
But my cruel sweetheart informed against me
I was quickly followed after and brought back with speed
In chains I was hung, heavy irons on me

Court martial, court martial I very soon got
And they quickly passed sentence that I should be shot
May the lord have mercy on them for their sad cruelty
For now the king's duty lies heavy on me
Court martial, court martial, they held against me
And the sentence they gave me was three hundred and three
May the lord have mercy on them for their sad cruelty
For now the king's duty lies heavy on me

So if ever you're a-walking all along Ratcliffe Highway
The recruiting party come a-beating the drum
Don't be listed and attested into the king's army
Or else the king's duty lie heavy on thee

Trad, arr T ashworth