There were three brothers in merry Scotland,
In merry Scotland liv-ed these,
And they did cast lots one with the other, other,
To know who should rob the salt seas.
The lot it fell on Henry Martin,
The youngest of the three,
To go a Scotch robbing all on the salt sea, salt sea,
To maintain his two brothers and he.
They had not sailed three cold winter's nights,
Nor scarcely cold winter's nights three,
Before they espied a lofty tall ship, tall ship,
Come sailing all on the salt sea.
"Where are you going?" said Henry Martin,
How dare you sail so nigh?"
"I'm a rich merchant's ship to fair England bound, England bound,
So I pray you to let me pass free/by."
"Oh no! Oh, no!" cried Henry Martin
"Such a thing as that never can be,
For I'm a Scotch robber, all on the salt sea, salt sea,
To maintain my two brothers and me!"
So broadside to broadside in battle they went,
They fought full two hours or three
Till Henry Martin gave her her death wound, death wound,
And down to the bottom sank she.
Bad news, bad news, my brave Englishmen,
Bad news I now bring to town:
The rich merchant's ship she is now cast away, cast away,
And the most of her merry men did drown.
Jones, Lewis, 1998, Miss Broadwood's Delight
, Ferret Publ., Sutton Coldfield
Collected by Lucy Broadwood from Henry Burstow. Lucy often indicated alternative versions in one text: the "free/by" is one of these.
(Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six