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One summer evening, a maiden fair
Was walking forth in the balmy air,
She met a sailor upon the way;
'Maiden stay' he whispered,
'Maiden stay' he whispered
'O pretty maiden stay!'

'Why art thou walking abroad alone?
The stars are shining, the day is done,'
O then her tears they began to flow;
For a dark eyed sailor,
For a dark eyed sailor
Had filled her heart with woe.

'Three years had pass'd since he left this land,
A ring of gold he took off my hand,
He broke the token, a half to keep,
Half he bade me treasure,
Half he bade me treasure,
Then crossed the briny deep.'

'O drive him damsel from out your mind,
For men are changeful as is the wind,
And love inconstant will quickly grow
Cold as winter morning,
Cold as winter morning,
When lands are white with snow.'

'Above the snow is holly seen,
In bitter blast it abideth green,
And blood-red drops it as berries bears
So my aching bosom,
So my aching bosom,
In truth and sorrow wears.'

Then half the ring did the sailor show,
Away with weeping and sorrow now!
'In bands of marriage united we
Like the broken Token,
Like the broken token,
In one shall welded be.'

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Source: Songs of the West by S. Baring-Gould.

Words and melody from Robert Hard. Broadside forms as "The Brisk Young Sailor," or as "Fair Phoebe;" as "The Dark Eyed Sailor," by Such, and Wheeler of Manchester; and as "The Sailor's Return," by Catnach. A version is published in "Christie's Traditional Ballads," and Mr Kidson obtained it in Yorkshire to a tune different from ours. The same as ours was noted down by Mr S. Reay about 1830-5 from a ballad singer at Durham.

Roud: 264 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six
Laws: N62

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