MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
A Sailor Courted a Farmer's Daughter
Performed by John Thomas Powers Accession # 78-054 NFLD 1 Tape 3 Track 9
Community: Tors Cove Audio:
Genre: Ballad / love across social classes  


A sailor courted a farmer's daughter
Who lived convenient to the Isle of Man
Pay heed good people what followed after
They long had courted but underhand

One day when parting after discoursing
Of things concerning the ocean wide
He said, "My dear on our next meeting
If you'd give consent I'd make you my bride"

Said she, "For sailors we don't admire them
Because they sail to so many a port
And the more we love them the more they slight us
And leave us after with broken hearts"

Then he said, "My dearest dear
I don't intend for to treat you so
I have once more to cross the ocean
You know my darling that I must go."

The news was carried unto his mother
Before he put his foot on board
That he was courted by a farmer's daughter
One penny portion could not afford

One penny portion going to the ocean
Like one distracted his mother ran
Saying, "If you don't forsake her
And your bride not make her
I will disown you to be my son."

"Now mother dear you're in a passion
I am sorry you spoke too late
Don't you remember your first proceedings
My father married you for a servant maid

So don't dispraise her for I mean to raise her
Just as my father with you have done
So it's home I take her and my bride I'll make her
Let my scolding mother say what she will."


Sources: This song is sometimes named "Constant Lover" (Laws O41); Henry 634; Roud 993; the text relates to "A Farmer's Daughter" in the Leach collection but the tunes differ.


Text notes: A sailor promises to marry his girl after one more voyage. He will be faithful.

Tune notes: This is one of several in abab form where each ab is an expansive melodic arch. The performance is rhythmically free.

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