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Origins: Fair Maid of Bristol

Steve Gardham 27 Sep 18 - 03:14 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Sep 18 - 03:24 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Sep 18 - 03:33 PM
Reinhard 27 Sep 18 - 06:30 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Sep 18 - 06:44 PM
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Subject: Origins: Fair Maid of Bristol
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Sep 18 - 03:14 PM

Hi, here's another one for analysis and research. Only 2 versions in Roud, both from Hampshire (17811) easily found on the Full English EFDSS website. We're going to include it in our next book in the Hammond-Gardiner series. I can't remember a broadside of it I have seen but it is absolutely typical of broadside language, possibly a London or Bristol, or Hampshire printing. The last verse is definitely familiar.

text to follow.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Maid of Bristol
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Sep 18 - 03:24 PM

It was of a pretty fair maid in(near) Bristol did dwell
She was courted by a sailor and he loved her full well
She was courted by a sailor when sixteen years old
Come you listen, fair maiden, and the truth I'll unfold.

It was early one morning to the lover he went
It was to inform her of his full intent
Crying, "Polly, dearest Polly, don't you let it give you pain
For I'm just a-going to leave you to cross the wide main."

Then on board the old Rover he quickly set sail
And left her a-weeping her tears to prevail,
As she stood on the beach, my boys, her white hands did wave,
may the heavens protect him from a watery grave.

Then a twelvemonth passed over when a little or more
When a letter was conveyed to the old British shore
That William her sailor boy in the wars he was slain
And his body they buried in the watery main.

Through the fields and green meadows all day for to roam
Through the fields and green meadows by myself all alone
To the loud roaring billows and the seas I will complain
For the loss of my true love on the watery main.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Maid of Bristol
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Sep 18 - 03:33 PM

What I should add is that place names are frequently changed both in print tradition and in oral tradition so 'Bristol' might not be on the original broadside.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Maid of Bristol
From: Reinhard
Date: 27 Sep 18 - 06:30 PM

Tim Radford sang this on his 2012 album of “maritime songs collected in Hampshire, England, 1905-1909 by Dr. George B. Gardiner”, From Spithead Roads.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Maid of Bristol
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Sep 18 - 06:44 PM

Thanks, Rein
Tim's is same source and we usually include his recordings in our discography. He contributes his research to the books as well. He has selected some chanteys for the next volume.


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