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Twas in the city of London, in apprenticeship I was bound
And many's the happy sweet hour, I spent in that dear old town
One day as I was walking, along my usual beat
A pretty little young maiden, came tripping along the street
And her eyes they shone like diamonds, I thought her the pride of the land
The hair that hung down on her shoulders was tied with a black velvet band
One day as we were walking, a gentleman passed us by
I could she was bent on some mischief by the roving of her eye
Gold watch she picked from his pocket and slyly placed it into my hand
I was taken in charge by a copper - bad luck to that black velvet band
Before the Lord Mayor I was taken: "Your case sir, I plainly can see
And if I'm not greatly mistaken you're bound far over the sea
It's over the dark and blue ocean Far away to Van Diemen's Land
Away from my friends and relations and the girl with the black velvet band
A song of many versions dating back to roughly the 1830s.
This version from Singabout, Volume 5, Number 1 (1963).
The illustration is a photograph of early Peelers, members of the first police force.