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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleWilliam Taylor
Roud No.158
Collected FromHarvey, Henry [Wassail]
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 3 - Oxfordshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Ox 308
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 6th November, 1915, p 2, Part 7, No. 7
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

William Taylor was a brisk young sailor,
Once he courted a lady gay;
But a little before they could get married,
Pressed he was and sent away.

Verse 2

Five long years she waited for him,
She thought him either dead or drowned;
"If he's alive I'll love him dearly,
And if he's dead for him I'll mourn."

Verse 3

She dressed herself in man's apparel,
And boldly boarded a man of war;
With her lily white hands and her long small fingers,
Dabbling in the pitch and tar.

Verse 4

And when she reached the field of battle,
There she fought along with the rest;
But the wind being high, blew her waistcoat apparel,
And there they spied her lily white breast.

Verse 5

As soon as the captain he did see her,
Says he, "What wind has blown you here?"
"I've come to seek my dearest William Taylor,
You've pressed the man that I loved so dear."

Verse 6

"Is William Taylor your true lover?
If he is, he's a false young man;
For tomorrow morning he's going to be married,
To some lady of this land.

Verse 7

If you rise early tomorrow morning,
Early by the break of day;
Then you will see your dearest William Taylor,
Walking with some lady gay."

Verse 8

Then she rose early in the morning,
Early by the break of day;
And there she saw her dearest William Taylor,
Walking with his lady gay.

Verse 9

She boldly called for a brace of pistols,
Which were brought at her command;
And there she shot her dearest William Taylor,
With his bride at his right hand.

Verse 10

Then the captain being a brave hearted fellow,
Well pleased was he to see the fun;
Saying, "If you'll be the captain I'll be the commander,
And over the seas we will roll on."

Verse 11

Soon as the captain he beheld her,
For the deed she had done;
Then he made her his chief commander,
Over a ship of five hundred men.

Verse 12

She's married and is the captain's wife,
Was married in October;
They live a sweet and contented life,
There's none in the world above.
Print Song Lyrics
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'Obtained of Mrs Rowles, Witney. Heard also at Cricklade and Marlborough.'

Note 2

Attributed to Harvey on the basis that he was the only Cricklade source noted by Williams.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2013.



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