Henry's Songbook

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The Mermaid

  • (Trad / Child #289)

       While the raging seas did roar
       And the stormy winds did blow
       And we jolly sailor boys were up, were up, were up
       And the landlubbers lying down below, below, below
       And the landlubbers lying down below

    'Twas a Friday morn when we set sail
    And our ship not far from the land
    When we did espy a fair pretty maid
    With a comb and a glass in her hand
    Her hand, her hand
    With a comb and a glass in her hand

    And up spoke the captain of our gallant ship
    Who at once our peril did see
    I have married me a wife in fair Boodle town
    But this night she a widow will be
    Will be, will be
    But this night she a widow will be

    And then up spake our little cabin boy
    And a fair-haired lad was he
    I've a father and mother in fair Salford town
    And this night they will weep for me
    For me, for me
    And this night they will weep for me

    And then three times around went our gallant ship
    Three times round went she
    For the want of a long boat they both went down
    And they sank to the bottom of the sea
    The sea, the sea
    And they sank to the bottom of the sea

    (as sung by The Spinners)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1912:] This song appears in W. Chappell's 'Popular Music of the Olden Time', J. Ashton's 'Real Sailor's Songs', and many other collections. It is a version of the old Sir Patrick Spens. (Johnson, Ballads xxii)

  • [1959:] The superstition that the sight of a mermaid is an omen of shipwreck is ancient and widespread, yet songs that treat of it are few. There is no sign that The Mermaid is older than the eighteenth century, but it has persisted in many forms, in both England and Scotland, in oral tradition, on broadsides, in song-books. It has been used as a sea-shanty, also as a students' song and a children's game ('The big ship sails up the Alley, Alley O'). Perhaps because of its familiarity in print, commentators and collectors have rather neglected this song, which, in good versions, has its fine points. [...] It has been reported in recent years, from Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Cheshire, Dorset, Devonshire, and, in a common fragment, from Berkshire. (EFS118)

  • [1964:] One of those songs you had to learn at school which turns out to have been a folk song. There is a longer version with no chorus in 'The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs'. We sing it the way we always did. (Notes Spinners, 'Folk At The Phil!')

  • [1964:] This is our version of that mythical figure, The Mermaid. (Intro 'Folk At The Phil!')

  • (The Praise of Saylors)

Quelle: England

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aktualisiert am 27.05.2002