Johnny Todd he took a notion
For to sail the ocean wide,
And he left his true love behind him,
Weeping by the Liverpool tide.
For a week she wept full sorely,
Tore her hair and wrung her hands,
Then she met another sailor,
Walking on the Liverpool sands.
"O fair maid, why are you weeping
For your Johnny gone to sea?
If you wed with me tomorrow
I will kind and constant be.
"I will buy you sheets and blankets,
I'll buy you a wedding ring,
You shall have a gilded cradle
For to rock your baby in."
Johnny Todd came back from sailing,
Sailing o'er the ocean wide,
But he found that his fair and false one
Was another sailor's bride.
All young men who go a-sailing
Or to fight the foreign foe,
Don't you leave your love like Johnny,
Marry her before you go.
abc | midi | pdf
Source: Singing Together, Autumn 1968, BBC Publications
Taken from 'a collection of traditional tunes by the late Frank Kidson.'
This is the 1891 collection of Kidson tunes. His notes for this song say:
Johnny Todd is a child's rhyme and game, heard and seen played by Liverpool children.
The air is somewhat pleasing, and the words appear old, though some blanks caused by the reciter's memory have had to be filled up.
Roud: 1102 (Search Roud index at VWML)