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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleUnfortunate tailor
Roud No.1614
Collected FromWebley, John
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative TitleGo and list for a sailor
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Gloucestershire: Williams, A: MS collection No Gl 50
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 3rd June, 1916, p 3, Part 32, No. 6
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

O list, o list to my sorrowful lay,
Attention give to my song, I pray;
And when you've heard it all you will say,
That I'm an unfortunate tailor.


O, why did my Sarah serve me so,
No more will I stitch, no more will I sew;
My thimble and my needle to the winds I will throw,
I'll go and enlist for a sailor.

Verse 2

I once was as happy as a bird on a tree,
My Sarah was all in the world to me,
But I am cut out by a son of the sea,
And now I'm left to bewail her.


Verse 3

My days were happy, and my nights the same,
Till a man named Cobb from the ocean came,
With a big black beard and a muscular frame,
A captain on board of a whaler.


Verse 4

He spent his money so frank and free,
With his tales of the lands and his songs of the sea;
He stole my Sarah's heart from me,
And blighted the hopes of the tailor.


Verse 5

I went to plead but she did refuse,
She loved another so we must excuse
Her candour, for it was no use,
She never would marry a tailor.


Verse 6

I felt it hard and it made me sob,
He says - "Get out, you blubbering snob,
If you don't begone I'll scuddle your nob."
And Sarah smiled at the sailor.


Verse 7

My Sarah was as tall as a young fir tree,
Fair as a lily and brisk as a bee,
And many were the smiles that she smiled on me,
But now I'm left to bewail her.


Verse 8

My Sarah was the daughter of a publican,
A generous, kind, good sort of a man -
Who spoke very plain what he thought of a man,
But he never looked cross at the tailor.


Verse 9

So, now I'll cross the raging sea,
Since Sarah is untrue to me;
My heart's locked up and she has the key -
A very unfeeling jailer.


Verse 10

So now, my friends, at last adieu!
No more my owes shall trouble you,
This world I'll ramble through and through,
I'll go and enlist for a sailor.
Print Song Lyrics
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'This, too, I obtained of John Webley, Arlington. I have not heard it elsewhere.'

Note 2

Verse 7 in the manuscript was written as Verse 3 and relocated to later in the sequence.

Note 3

There are minor differences in punctuation between the Ms and printed versions.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.



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