Author Topic: Add: For I am a Maid that's Deep in Love


Posted - 14 Feb 04 - 02:13 pm

For I am a maid that's deep in love and I dare not once complain,
For I'm in search of my true love, and Johnny is his name,
Enquiring for the captain my passage to go free,
That I might find the lad I love while crossing the deep blue sea.

Source: Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, Dec 1953


This was transcribed by Patrick Shuldham-Shaw from the singing of Mrs Costello of Birmingham. The timing is very irregular and is given in the Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, Dec 1953, where it appears, without a time signature.

Only the first verse is given in the Journal. The relevant entry is as follows:

For I am a Maid that's Deep in Love: this is something of a find too, though of humbler order. The Maid on the Shore is such a familiar song in north-east America that it is a wonder that its traces are so rare in the land of its birth. To the best of my knowledge, the only vestige of the song recovered on this side of the Atlantic is the single stanza entitled The Mermaid in Joyce's Old Irish Folk Music (and even there, the story of the song seems to be different from the American versions). The various Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Maine versions seem to be very much alike, and may relate to a broadsheet print. This present version is very fragmentary, of course, and is quite lacking in the central theme of the story (The Broomfield Hill theme, one might call it) of the girl outwitting the amorous captain. But it does contain what the north-eastern American versions usually miss, which is the motive of search for a lost lover. A Missouri version of the song begins: "There was a fair damsel all crossed in love, And deeply sunk in despair, O".

Mrs Costello;s melody is more familiar as one of the Lowlands of Holland sets - A. L. L.

Database entry is here.

Edited By dmcg - 14-Feb-2004 02:34:05 PM

Malcolm Douglas
Posted - 14 Feb 04 - 04:25 pm

The identification with The Maid on the Shore suggested in JEFDSS is a little tenuous, and probably fewer people today would go along with it (I wouldn't myself, for what that's worth). Roud puts this at number 231 in his Index (Laws N12), and lists further variants found in Canada, the USA and Ireland.

Mrs Costello's set was quite condensed, but there was a bit more; you need to look further down the page, to where the second verse is given, and to the next where you'll find the third. Each has its own notation.


Posted - 14 Feb 04 - 06:53 pm

Thanks, Malcolm. I had interpreted those extra verses as different versions also from Mrs Costello: are they actually part of a single recording? If so, I'll put them all in the database.

Malcolm Douglas
Posted - 14 Feb 04 - 07:02 pm

Music was given for the whole song rather than just one verse, so it probably would be best to enter the whole thing. Mrs Costello seems to have known just the three stanzas printed.


Posted - 14 Feb 04 - 07:19 pm

Additional verses added.

Edited By dmcg - 15-Feb-2004 11:16:20 AM

Browse Titles: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z