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As I walked out one May morning
One May morning early
'Twas there I spied a pretty maid
So handsome and so clever

(With my rue, rum, ray,
Fol the riddle ay
Whack fol loora, lido)

Her shoes were black, her stockings white,
And her buckles shone like silver;
She had a dark and rolling eye
And her hair hung down her shoulders.

?How old are you, my pretty fair maid,
How old are you, my honey??
She answered me quite cheerfully,
?I am seventeen come Sunday?

?Will you marry me, my pretty fair maid,
Will you marry me, my honey??
She answered me quite cheerfully,
?I dare not for my mammy

?If you come down to my mammy?s house
When the moon is shining brightly,
Then I?ll come down and let you in
And my mammy will not hear me

I went to her mammy?s house
When the moon was brightly shining;
She came down and let me in,
And I lay in her arms till morning

?Oh, soldier, will you marry me?
For now?s your time or never.
Oh, soldier, will you marry me?
Or I?m undone for ever?

And now she is a soldier?s wife
And sails across the brine,
?The drum and fife is my delight
And a merry man is mine, 0?

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Source: Palmer, R (1979) Everyman's Book of English Country Songs London, Dent

Communicated by Walter Pardon, Knapton, Norfolk. August 1978

Palmer notes:
Mothers with nubile daughters were particularly wary of soldiers, who were proverbial for the girls they left behind. The man here is atypical, for he takes the girl with him to be at least a common-law wife. The song originated in the eighteenth century, and remained widely popular until the twentieth. Cecil Sharp alone collected 22 versions, but the one given here was recorded by Walter Pardon in 1978.

Numerous broadsheets can found at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads. For example: Harding B 11(690) and Firth c.14(204)

Roud: 277 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six

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