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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleHenry Martin
Roud No.104
Collected FromShilton, James
LocationLechlade
CountyGloucestershire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative TitleChild 167; Child 250
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Gloucestershire: Williams, A: MS collection No Gl 117
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 20th November, 1915, p 2, Part 8, No. 4: Williams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923, p 78, 79
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

There were three brothers in merry Scotland,
In merry Scotland there were three,
And each of those three brothers cast lots,
To see which should rob in the salt sea.

Verse 2

This lot did fall on young Henry Martin,
The youngest of those brothers three,
For to turn a robber all on the salt sea,
To maintain his two brothers and he.

Verse 3

He had not sailed one long winter's night,
One cold winter's night before day,
Before he espied a rich merchant ship,
Come bearing straight down that way.

Verse 4

'Who are you? Who are you?' cried Henry Martin.
'How dare you come so nigh?'
'I'm a rich merchant ship of old England's banks.
Please to let me pass by.'

Verse 5

'Oh, no! Oh, no!' cried Henry Martin.
Oh, no! That never can be.
Since I've turned a robber all on this salt sea
To maintain my two brothers and me.'

Verse 6

'Come haul your topsail you helmsman bold,
And deliver it unto me.
For I am resolved to board your ship here
To maintain my two brothers and me.'

Verse 7

Then broadside to broadside to battle they went,
Not more than two hours or three;
At last Henry Martin gave her a death wound,
And down to the bottom went she.

Verse 8

Bad news! Bad news! to old England came,
Bad news I will tell to you all,
Of a rich merchant ship of old England's banks,
Sunk to the bottom with all.
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms: 'Probably of North Country origin. It is evidently of considerable age, since it refers to the times when piracy was common on the sea contiguous to Britain. I obtained my copy of Henry Shilton, now in his ninetieth year. I have not heard it elsewhere.'

Williams, Alfred: WGS / FSUT: 'Probably of North Country origin. It is evidently of considerable age, since it refers to the times when piracy was common on the sea contiguous to Britain. I obtained my copy of James Shilton, now in his ninetieth year.'

Note 2

In Verse 7, Line 2 the WGS and FSUT versions are:

Not one or two hours but three

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2014.

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