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(Version A)

It's on one summer's morning
All in the month of May
Our ship she lies in harbour
For Greenland bore away
That the wind blew East a West, my boys,
To the Indies I am bound,
O'er hills and dales and lofty vales
We'll view those fields all round. 

It was of a blooming sailor-boy
All in his blooming years,
He comes unto his own true love,
His eyes were full of tears.
When he comes unto his own true love
To let her understand
That he was going to leave her,
Bound to some foreign land.

O Henry, dearest Henry,
These words have broke my heart,
Let you and I get married, love,
And thus before we part.
For it's sixteen weeks and better, love,
I am with child by three.
O stay at home, dear Henry,
Prove kind and marry me.

If I should stay at home
And another man take my place,
It would be a dishonour, love,
Likewise a sad disgrace.
For the King he do want sailor boys
And I for one must go,
So I am afraid my heart will break,
You dares not to say No.

Then I will cut off my curly hair,
Man's clothing I will put on
And I will follow after you
To be your waiting-man.
Like a true and faithful servant
With my Henry I will wed,
Where no storms or dangers I don't fear,
Let them be ever so great.



(Version B)

It's of a summer season,
The twenty eighth of May,
Come rise you English colours,l ove,
And let's be on our way
The sun does shine most glorious
To Lisbon we are bound
Where the hills and hills are covered
With the pretty girls all round.

It's of a wealthy squire
All in his blloming years,
He said unto his Nancy
With many a melting tear,
He said unto his Nancy
That she may understand,
That he was going to leave her
And bound for a foreign land.

O do not say so, William,
Those words will break my heart.
That [Let's?] you and I be married here
This night before we part.
For there's three long months and better, love,
With child I've been by thee.
O stay ashore, sweet William,
Prove kind and marry me.

If I should stay on shore, my love,
Another would take my place
And wouldn't that be a shocking thing
Likewise a sad disgrace.
The King hath room (?) for soldiers
And I for one must go
And for my very life, dear love,
I dare not answer No.

Then I'll cut off my curly locks,
Man's clothing I'll put on
And I will sail along with you
To be your waiting-man.
That true and faithful servant
All on you I will wait.
I'll fear no storm nor danger
Whilst you are by my side.

Your waist it is too slender,
Your fingers long and small,
To wait on me in battle, love,
If I on you should call.
Where the thundering cannons rattle
And bullets swiftly fly,
The silver trumpets sounding
To drown our dismal cry.

If I should met another girl
And she should be kind and fair
And I should take a liking to her,
O Annie what would you say?
What would I say, sweet William,
O then I'd love her too,
I'd quickly step aside, my love,
While she was pleasing you.

Well done, my dearest Nancy,
These words have gained my heart,
That you and I be married, love,
This night before we part.
This couple they got married
And they crossed o'er the main.
I wish them health and happiness
Till they return again.


(Version C)

'Twas on one Whitsun Wednesday,
The fourteenth day of May,
We untied our anchor
And so we sailed away,
When the sun do shine most glorious
To Lisbon we are bound,
When the hills and hills are dainted
With pretty maidens round.

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Source: Cecil Sharp's Collection of English Folk Songs, Vol 1, ed Maud Karpeles , Oxford University Press, 1974

Page  531ff, No 138.

 A: Robert Parish (84) at Exford, Somerset, 6 September 1906
 B: Eliza Hutchings (71) at Langport, Somerset, 4 August 1904
 C: Mrs Lock at Mulchelney Ham, Somerset, 13 April 1904

Roud: 551 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six
Laws: N8

Browse Titles: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z