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It's of a sea captain lived near the seaside, oh,
And he's courted a lady till she prov-ed with child, oh.

"Oh, its fetch me some of your father's gold and some of your mother's money,
That I might go on board a ship with my own dearest honey".

We hadn't been on board the ship but six weeks or better
Before she wanted women and could not get any.

"Oh, its hold your tongue you sill girl; oh, it's hold your tongue, my honey,
For we cannot get women for love nor for money".

I tied a napkin round her head, I tied it round softly,
And I throwed her right over, both she and her baby.

I got out upon the deck for to see my love in the water,
Seeing how she doth swim, my boys, seeing how she doth swagger.

She will never leave off swimming till she come to some harbour.
Oh, she shall have a coffin if ever she is founded.

Oh, she shall have a coffin, and the nail shall shine yellow,
And my love shall be buried on the banks of green willow.

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Source: Palmer, Roy, Bushes and Briars, LLanerch, 1999

Collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams from David Clements, Basingstoke in 1909

Vaughan Willaims recorded from time to time on wax cylinder. David Clements (probably; many of the labels are missing) can be heard singing Banks of Green Willow on the CD A Century of Song: A Celebration of Traditional Singers Since 1899 (EFDSSCD02, 1998), issued by the English Folk Dance and Song Society to mark the centenary of the Folk Song Society

Roud: 172 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six

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