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"Fare ye well, lovely Nancy, for I must now leave you.
I am bound to th' East Indies my course for to steer.
I know very well my long absence will grieve you,
But, true love, I'll be back in the spring of the year."

"Oh, 'tis not talk of leaving me, my dearest Johnny,
Oh, tis not talk of leaving me here all alone;
For it is your good company that I do admire:
I will sigh till I die if I ne'er see you more."

"In sailor's apparel I'll dress and go with you,
In the midst of all dangers your friend I will be;
And that is, my dear, when the stormy wind's blowing,
True love, I'll be ready to reef your topsails."

"Your neat little fingers strong cables can't handle,
Your neat little feet to the topmast can't go;
Your delicate body strong winds can't endure.
Stay at home, lovely Nancy, to the seas do not go."

Now Johnny is sailing and Nancy bewailing;
The tears down her eyes like torrents do flow.
Her gay golden hair she's continually tearing,
Saying, "I'll sigh till I die if I ne'er see you more."

Now all you young maidens by me take warning,
Never trust a sailor or believe what they say.
First they will court you, then they will slight you;
They will leave you behind, love, in grief and in pain.

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Source: Palmer, Roy (ed),(1986),Oxford Book of Sea Songs,Oxford, OUP

Roy Palmer's notes follow:

In 'Adieu, my lovely Nancy' a sailor expresses his reluctance to go to sea because of the joint dangers of war and battle, promises to write letters while he is away, and looks forward to returning. In 'Fare ye well, lovely Nancy' we have moved on in time: the war is over, and the departing sailor is faced only with hard work and a struggle with the elements. Nevertheless, he has to dissuade Nancy from following him in disguise. This theme has a pedigree going back to at least the 1680's, and ballads such as 'The Seaman's Doleful Farewell', 'The Undaunted Seaman' and 'The Undaunted Mariner'. The last of these begins 'Farewell, my dearest Nancy, for this day I must leave thee', and all have verbal similarities with 'Fare ye well, lovely Nancy', which appeared in its turn on broadsides and also circulated traditionally in America, Australia, Ireland and Britain. The version given here was sung to Vaughan Williams by a Hampshire man, George Lovett, in 1909.

"Lovely Nancy" at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:

Lovely Nancy ("Adieu, my lovely Nancy, ten thousand times adieu ...")
Harding B 17(175a)
Printer: Swindells (Manchester)
Date: between 1796 and 1853
Imprint: Swindells, Printer

Lovely Nancy ("It was on a Monday morning ...")
Harding B 17(175b)
Printer: [s.n.] ([s.l.])
Date: [s.a.]
Note: Imprint cropped

Lovely Nancy ("Adieu, my lovely Nancy ...")
2806 d.31(73)
Harding B 11(2118)
Printer: [s.n.] ([s.l.])
Date: [s.a.]

Lovely Nancy ("And adieu lovely Nancy, it is now I must leave you ...")
Harding B 11(297)
Printer: Bebbington, J.O. (Manchester)
Date: c.1850
Imprint: Priuted [sic] and Sold Wholesale and Retail by John O. Bebbington, 22, Goulden-st., Oldham-rd., Manchester. Printer's Series: (4).
Note: Firth c.26(219) is another issue

Lovely Nancy ("Adieu my lovely Nancy ...")
Harding B 11(1590)
Printer: [s.n.] ([s.l.])
Date: [s.a.]

Lovely Nancy ("And adieu lovely Nancy, it is now I must leave you ...")
Firth c.26(219)
Printer: Bebbington, J.O. (Manchester)
Date: c.1850
Note: Harding B 11(297) is another issue.

This is another "Lovely Nancy" song:

Lovely Nancy ("The streams of lovely Nancy divides in two parts ...")
Harding B 17(176a)
Printer: Catnach, J. (London)
Date: between 1813 and 1838
Imprint: Printed by J. Catnach, 2, Monmouth-Court, Seven Dials

Roud: 527 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six

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