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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleBanks of green willow
Roud No.172
Collected FromGrubb, George
LocationSouth Marston
CountyWiltshire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Gloucestershire: Williams, A: MS collection No. Gl 85
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 13th November, 1915, p 2, Part 7 No. 9
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

It's of a sea captain,
Lived near the seaside o,
He courted a farmer's daughter,
All for to make her his bride o.

Verse 2

"Fetch some of your father's gold,
Likewise your mother's money;
Then I will gang overseas,
Along with my Annie."

Verse 3

She fetched some of her father's gold,
Likewise her mother's money;
And I ganged overseas,
Along with my Annie.

Verse 4

We had not been on the sea,
Scarce six weeks or so many;
Before she wanted women's help,
But she could not get any.

Verse 5

"Can I do you women's help?
Can I do you my Annie?"
"You cannot do me women's help,
For love nor for money.

Verse 6

Tie a napkin around my head,
Tie it round easy,
Then throw me overboard,
Both me and my baby."

Verse 7

He tied a napkin around her head,
He tied it so round easy;
And then threw her overboard,
Both she and her baby.

Verse 8

"Then see how she swims, my boys,
See how she quivers!
She will sink or she will swim, my boys,
To the banks of green willow.

Verse 9

My love shall have a coffin made,
With the bright gold so yellow;
And she shall be buried,
On the banks of green willow.

Verse 10

My mind it is tormented,
I cannot be easy;
The drowning of this pretty girl,
And her innocent baby."
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Note 1

Williams, Alfred Williams: Ms / WGS 'A very old song, possibly of Scotch origin. Obtained of George Grubb, the old shepherd of Ewen, near Cirencester, and formerly of South Marston, Wiltshire.'

Note 2

In Verse 1 Line 4 the original text read:

For to make her his bride o.

In Verse 4 and 5 the original text was women's help on each occasion the term is used.

In Verse 8 Lines 3 and 4 the original text read:

She will sink and she will swim, my boys,
To the banks of green willows.'

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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