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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleSailor boy
Roud No.273
Collected FromPuffet, John
LocationLechlade
CountyGloucestershire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Gloucestershire: Williams, A: MS collection No Gl 115
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 12th February, 1916, p 3, Part 18, No. 6
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

Early, early all in the spring,
I went aboard to serve the King;
'Twas the Regency and the mountains high,
That parted me and my sailor boy.
'Twas the Regency and the mountains high,
That parted me and my sailor boy.

Verse 2

I hadn't long been sailing down on the deep,
Before five King's ships I chanced to meet:
"Come, jovial sailors, tell me true,
Does my sweet William sail among your crew?"
"Come, jovial sailors, tell me true,
Does my sweet William sail among your crew?"

Verse 3

"Ah, no! fair lady, he is not here,
He's dead and drowned, I do declare;
On yonder island that we passed by
'Twas there we lost sight of your sailor boy.
On yonder island that we passed by
'Twas there we lost sight of your sailor boy.

Verse 4

Then she wrung her hands and tore her hair,
Like some wild creature in despair:
"My little boat against the rocks does run;
How can I live now my sailor's gone?
My little boat against the rocks does run;
How can I live now my sailor's gone?"

Verse 5

A few weeks later this lady died,
And a letter was found by her bedside;
The reason why she lost her life,
Was because she was not the sailor's wife.
The reason why she lost her life,
Was because she was not the sailor's wife.

Verse 6

"Then dig me a grave, long wide and deep,
And strew it over with lilies so sweet;
Put on my stone a turtle dove,
To show the world that I died of love.
Put on my stone a turtle dove,
To show the world that I died of love.
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms: 'This I have met with in several versions, though the variations were not great. It is old and the air is very pleasant, well suited to the words of the piece. Obtained of John Puffet, Lechlade.

Williams, Alfred: WGS: 'This I have met with in several versions, though the variations were not great. It is old and the air is very pleasant. Obtained of John Puffet, Lechlade.

Note 2

In Verse 2, Line 2 the original text was:

Before five Queen's ships I chanced to meet,

In Verse 4, Line 3 the original text was:

There we lost sight of your sailor boy.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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