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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleWhile the raging seas did roar
Roud No.124
Collected FromTanner, Charles
LocationBampton
CountyOxfordshire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative TitleChild No 289; Mermaid
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Oxfordshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Ox 224
Source SecondaryWilliams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923 p 84
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

It was one Friday morning when we set sail,
And our ship not so very far from land,
It was there we did espy a pretty fair maid,
With a comb and a glass in her hand.

Chorus

While the raging seas did roar,
And the stormy winds did blow,
Whilst we poor sailors went up into the top,
And the land-men a-lying down below, below, below,
And the land-men a-lying down below.

Verse 2

Then up speaks a man of our gallant ship,
And a well speaking man was he -
'I've married a wife in fair London town,
And this night she a widow will be.'

Chorus

Verse 3

The up speaks the boy of our gallant ship,
And a fair speaking boy was he -
'I've a father and mother in fair London town,
And this night they will weep for me.'

Chorus

Verse 4

They may weep, they may look with a watery eye,
They may weep, they may weep for me,
They may weep, they may look with a watery eye,
They may look to the bottom of the sea.

Chorus

Verse 5

Then three times round went our gallant ship,
And three times round went she,
And it's three times round went our gallant ship,
Then she sank to the bottom of the sea.

Chorus
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Note 1

Alfred Williams - 'Known also as the 'Mermaid'. Of good age, and an old favourite. This version was sung by Mr Charles Tanner, Bampton.'

Note 2

There is a typescript in the manuscript of an entry on page 86 of the Notebook. This reproduces Verse 2, the chorus and the first two lines of Verse 3. In the Notebook line three reads:

I married a wife then? / there? in fair L town

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2007.

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