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Alan of Australia Penguin: A Sailor's Life (11) Lyr Add: A SAILOR'S LIFE (Traditional English) 02 Jul 00

From the Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs, Ed Pellow's rendition of the tune of A Sailor's Life can be found here.


A sailor's life is a merry life.
They rob young girls of their heart's delight,
Leaving them behind to sigh and mourn.
They never know when they will return.

Here's four and twenty all in a row.
My sweetheart cuts the brightest show;
He's proper, tall, genteel withal,
And if I don't have him I'll have none at all.

O father, fetch me a little boat,
That I might on the ocean float,
And every Queen's ship that we pass by,
We'll make enquire for my sailor boy.

We had not sailed long upon the deep,
Before a Queen's ship we chanced to meet.
'You sailors all, come tell me true,
Does my sweet William sail among your crew?'

'Oh no, fair lady, he is not here,
For he is drowned, we greatly fear.
On yon green island as we passed by,
There we lost sight of your sailor boy.'

She wrung her hands and she tore her hair,
Much like a woman in great despair.
Her little boat 'gainst a rock did run.
How can I live now my William is gone?'

Sung by Henry Hills, Lodsworth, Sussex (W.P.M. 1899)

Click here for a slightly different version.

Previous song: A Sailor In The North Country.
Next song: Salisbury Plain.


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