Oh, as I roved out one moonlight night,
The stars were shining and all things bright,
I spied a pretty maid by the light of the moon,
And under her apron she carried a loom.
To me right whack fal the doo-a-di-do-day,
Right whack fal the doo-a-di-do-day,
Too-ra loo-ra loo-ra lay,
To me right whack fal the doo-a-di-do-day.
She says, "Young man, what trade do you bear?"
Says I, "I'm a weaver, I do declare.
I am a weaver, brisk and free"
"Would you weave upon my loom, kind sir?" said she.
There was Nancy Right and Nancy Rill:
For them I wove the Diamond Twill;
Nancy Blue and Nancy Brown:
For them I wove the Rose and the Crown.
So I laid her down upon the grass,
I braced her loom both tight and fast,
And for to finish it with a joke,
I topped it off with a double stroke.
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Source: The Penguin Book of Canadian Folksongs.
An old ballad learned from Dan Leahy, an Irish Farm labourer from Marchurst, Ontario, around 1890, when Leahy would have been about seventy years old. It has not been reported from oral tradition elsewhere, but a ten-stanza version appears in the nineteenth-century Jones-Conklin manuscript of an american sailor.
The song apparently dates from the pre-industrial era when handloom weavers travelled from town to town weaving the yarn that housewives had spun. Both the 'Rose and the Crown' and the 'Diamond Twill' are traditional patterns listed in a British dictionary of the weaving trade.
Roud: 2311 (Search Roud index at VWML)