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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleBlack velvet band
Roud No.2146
Collected FromUnknown
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Source PrimaryWSHC 2598/72 Manuscript of A Cotswold Ploughing Match and other folk songs included in Folk Songs of the Upper Thames
Source SecondaryUnpublished
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

To go in a smack down to Barking, where as a boy I apprentice was bound,
Where I spent many hours in comfort and pleasure in that little town
At length future prospects were blighted, as soon you may all understand,
So by my downfall take a warning – beware of a black velvet band.

Verse 2

One day, being out on a ramble, alone by myself I did stray,
I met with a young gay deceiver, while cruising on Ratcliffe Highway,
Her eyes they were as a raven’s, I thought her the pride of the land,
Her hair hanging down on her shoulders was tied with a black velvet band.

Verse 3

She towed me in port and we anchored, from virtue she did me decoy,
When it was proposed and agreed to that I should become a flash boy,
And, drinking and gaming, to plunder to keep up the game soon was planned,
But since, I had cause to remember the girl with the black velvet band.

Verse 4

Flash girl, if you wish to turn modest and strive a connection to gain,
Do not wear a band over the forehead as if to tie in your brain;
Some fret for Victoria fashion, and some have their hair braided so grand,
Myself I do think it much better than a girl with a black velvet band.

Verse 5

Young men, by my fate take a warning, from all those gay ladies refrain,
And seek for a neat little woman that wears her hair parted and plain;
The subject that now I do mention the innocent me soon trepanned,
In sorrow my days will be ended, far from the black velvet band.

Verse 6

For she towed in a bold man-o’-war’s man, her ogle she winked on the sly,
But little did I know her meaning when I twigged her taking his cly,
He said, ‘I’m bound for the ocean, and shortly the ship will be manned,
But still, I’ve a strong inclination for the girl with a black velvet band.

Verse 7

A snare was invented to slight and banish me out of her sight,
A fogle she brought of no value, saying – “More I will bring this night.”
She slipped it sly into my pocket, false girl! and took me by the hand,
They gave me in charge of the sneezer – bad luck to the black velvet band.

Verse 8

I quickly was nailed and committed, and cast in the jug for a lag,
For a wipe that she pinched and bunged to me and valued no more than a flag,
The judge said to me – “You are sentenced to a free passage to Van Diemen’s Land.”
And far, far away from relations to abhor the black velvet band.
Print Song Lyrics
Note 1

In Verse 3 Line 1 the original read:

She towed me in port and I anchored, from virtue she did me decoy,

Note 2

The usual citation for this song is: WSHC: 2598/36 Packet 5 - Miscellaneous: Williams, A: MS collection No Mi 535. That is a copy of above text, taken from the original which is located at the citation given above.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2014.



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