It's of a brisk young country lady,
Up to London she did go;
She fell in love with a jolly sailòr,
His canvas trousers as white as snow.
His cheeks were like two blooming roses,
In summer they did fade and blow,
Saying "I do love my jolly sailor,
And dare not let my parents know.
Drive on, drive on, my handsome coachman,
They are my horses, you need not fear,
It's now twenty minutes past eleven,
At the hour of twelve we must be there!"
See how they whipped and spurred their horses
Through every town as they rode through,
With a golden band hanging round her middle,
And a foot-boy after her like lightning flew.
They drove her up in twenty minutes,
Which caused those horses to sweat and die,
And the people being so much alarmèd
All for the lady they did cry.
The King, he having so well regarded,
Saying, "She shall wed her sailor bold,
She shall wed her jolly sailor,
For no two such lovers were ever known!"
She took her garment from her middle,
And gently folded it all on her arm,
Saying "The first shall touch is my jolly sailor,
And his life shall be at my command."
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Source: Journal of the Folk-Song Society, vol V (issue 19), 1915, 129
Sung by Miss Edith Sebbage, Trotton, Sussex, 1911. Noted by Miss D J Marshall.
Miss Sebbage worked as a servant. She had learned the song from her mother ("now Mrs Stemp") at Trotton. Lucy Broadwood noted that the tune was of the Mermaid type, and thought that both versions (the other was from Mrs Emily Joiner of Chiswell Green, Hertfordshire) "seem to derive from the same corrupt source, probably a broadside put together from oral tradition. The ballad as it stands" she added, "is delightfully mysterious."
Roud: 2645 (Search Roud index at VWML)