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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleClowdy banks
Roud No.266
Collected FromMessenger, Charles
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative TitleClaudy banks
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Gloucestershire: Williams, A: MS collection No Gl 61
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 15th January, 1916, p 2, Part 14, No. 4
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

As I walked out one evening, 'twas in the month of May,
Down by some flowery gardens with pleasure I did stray;
'Twas there I heard a damsel in sorrow to complain,
'Twas for her absent lover, who ploughed the raging main.

Verse 2

I boldly stepped up to her, I put her in surprise,
I knew she did not know me, for I was in disguise;
I said - "My charming creature, you're my joy and heart's delight,
How far on this road do you travel this dark and rainy night?"

Verse 3

"I am bound for the Clowdy banks, if you will please to show,
O pity a poor girl distressed, for there this night I must go,
In search all of some false young man, and Johnny is his name;
And on the banks of Clowdy I'm told he does remain."

Verse 4

"Being six long months and better since your true love left shore,
For to cross that wide ocean where thundering cannons roar;
For to cross that wide ocean for honour and for gain,
Their ship's been wrecked, as I've been told, all on the coast of Spain."

Verse 5

By hearing of this dreadful news she fell into despair,
By wringing of her hands, and crying, and tearing of her hair -
"My vows unto no other man I never more will make;
In some lonesome woods and valleys I'll wander for his sake,"

Verse 6

By hearing of this joy, after he could no longer stand,
He flew into her open arms, crying - "Betsy, I'm the man.
I am that faithful young man whom you did think was slain,
And since we've met on Clowdy banks we'll never part again."
Print Song Lyrics
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'An old ballad, which I have met with but once in the Vale, i.e. in the neighbourhood of Latton. Obtained of Charles Messenger, Cerney Wick.'

Note 2

In the note to Isle of Beauty, fare thee well, Charles Messenger is described as from Latton. There is less than a mile between the two communities and so Charles Messenger could easily have lived in both at various times.

Note 3

In Verse 2 line the WGS text is:

I knew she didn't know me, for I was in disguise;

In Verse 3 Line 1 the WGS text is:

"I am bound for the Clowdy Banks, if you will please to show,

Also in Verse 3 Lines 1 and 4 and Verse 6 Line 4 the original spelling of Clowdy is Cloudy.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.



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