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There is a whole strand of songs about the Gypsy Rover.
I was exposed to multiple versions in a radio series in which Jean Ritchie was playing versions she had recorded in the British Isles and then playing versions she had grown up with in Appalachia.

My Dad would play “The Gypsy Davy” which was Woody Guthrie’s take on it.
“Ribbons and lace, and questionable gems,” is stolen from Tanith Lee.
“Thumb on the blade and strike up!” is adapted from Folk Songs of North America song notes about an old Italian bandito. I don’t remember which song.

Listen to a clip:

Gypsy Rover

 

Gypsy Rover
© 2013 John “Hakim” Arden Bushnell, Delirious Walrus Productions

Lyrics:
I, the Gypsy rover, in ribbons and lace and questionable gems.
I, the Thief of Hearts, I wear them strung on a chain across my
breast
Master of these coward dogs, who strike in the night from behind
Receiver of stolen words, taken from the mouths of other men

I, the Gypsy rover, loyal to gold and a well-filled skirt
with a high appreciation for some of the lower things
A man of ruggedly used and well-rounded philosophy
God is as deaf to my prayers as I to those of my enemies

I, the Gypsy rover, with a weakness for a well-turned verse
I was betrayed by one, sprung like a dove from a woman’s mouth
I was taken in company, left to die, solitary
bleeding out my life on this couch of unsprung rhyme

I, the Gypsy rover, this my last will and testament
A pox on all you pretty tongued whores, may my daughters not be
such as you
This have I to leave to my sons; it has served me well in this world
remember to keep your thumb on the blade, and strike up

I, the Gypsy rover, in ribbons and lace and questionable gems
I, the Thief of Hearts, I wear them strung on a chain across my
breast
Master of these coward dogs, who strike in the night from behind.
Receiver of stolen words, taken from the mouths of other men

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