I Never Will Marry [Laws K17]

DESCRIPTION: The singer meets a fair woman by the seashore. She (is reading a letter which) reveals that her lover is dead. The singer asks her to marry him. She vows she never will marry, and ensures it by drowning herself
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1906 (Belden-BalladsSongsCollectedByMissourFolkloreSociety)
KEYWORDS: love death suicide
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South),Scotland(Aber)) US(Ap,SE,So)
REFERENCES (11 citations):
Laws K17, "Down by the Sea Shore"
Belden-BalladsSongsCollectedByMissourFolkloreSociety, pp. 167-168, "The Lover's Lament for her Sailor" (2 texts)
Randolph 84, "Down by the Sea-Shore" (2 texts plus 1 fragment and 1 excerpt, 2 tunes)
McNeil-SouthernFolkBalladsVol1, pp.130-131, "The Maiden's Lament" (1 text, 1 tune)
Bush-FSofCentralWestVirginiaVol5, pp. 74-75, "I Never Will Marry" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FolkSongsOfNorthAmerica 114, "I Never Will Marry" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greig/Duncan6 1244, "The Banks of the Bann" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Ox 296, "My Love Is Gone"; Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 489, "My Love's Dead" (2 texts)
Seeger-AmericanFavoriteBallads, p. 29, "I Never Will Marry" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 181, "I Never Will Marry" (1 text)

Roud #466
Carter Family, "I Never Will Marry" (Montgomery Ward M-7356, c. 1935; Bluebird B-8350, 1940)
Texas Gladden w. Hobart Smith, "I'm Never to Marry" (Disc 6080, 1940s; on USTGladden01)
Pete Seeger, "I Never Will Marry" (on HootenannyCarnegie) (on PeteSeeger27)

cf. "Chowan River" (theme)
cf. "Oh! My Love's Dead" (lyrics; see NOTES)
The Shells of the Ocean
NOTES [107 words]: Although most traditional collections of this are from the twentieth century, there are many related broadsides -- and it appears that there was a nineteenth century parody. Called "Oh! My Love's Dead," it appears on pp. 70-71 of Scott-EnglishSongBook, and is said to have words by Charles Sloman and to have been sung by Sam Cowell (for whom see the notes for "Billy Barlow (II)"). Cowell died in 1864, so that would seem to be an EARLIEST DATE for this song.
Roud lumps this in with the "standard" versions of Laws K17. But it is clearly a rewrite, and not traditional, so I would not list it as an actual version but rather a parody. - RBW
Last updated in version 6.0
File: LK17

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