When I Am On the Sea Sailing
DESCRIPTION: The singer is leaving to fight in Flanders for six months. He would not have his girl dress as a man and follow him. He will pray "to the High Powers above To guard you." He returns "free from harm"
EARLIEST DATE: 1906 (GreigDuncan8)
KEYWORDS: love war soldier parting reunion cross-dressing dialog floatingverses
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
GreigDuncan8 1541, "When I Am On the Sea Sailing" (6 texts, 7 tunes)
The Fish May Fly
NOTES [169 words]: The distinguishing line in the GreigDuncan8 texts is the verse, "When I am on the sea sailing, An' far from any shore, My prayers will be to the High Powers above, To guard for evermore." Floating verses include "The fish may fly, and the seas gang dry, An' the rocks melt wi' the sun, But if ever I do prove false to you My heart's blood it shall run" and "You mind me on yon milkwhite dove Sits mourning on yon tree, Lamenting over her marrow so sweet, And so will I for you." I assume that Roud lumps this with "Careless Love" and "Fare You Well, My Own True Love."
The verse and story line from GreigDuncan8 is missing in W. Christie, editor, Traditional Ballad Airs (Edinburgh, 1881 (downloadable pdf by University of Edinburgh)), Vol II, pp. 164-165, "You'll Never Mind Me More, Dear Love." That song begins "When you are on the sea sailing, And far from any shore, I fear you'll never mind on me, You'll never mind me more" -- as does GreigDuncan8 -- and then becomes a collection of floating verses. - BS
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