Rambling Boy (III), The
DESCRIPTION: Jack the sailor and his girl spend the night and stop in a Green Street tavern where he is beaten by "turks and heathens." He is taken and "transported for theivery" to Van Diemans Land. Now in "transport blue," he will write her a letter if she is true.
EARLIEST DATE: 1955 (IRRCinnamond03)
KEYWORDS: sex fight farewell theft transportation unemployment sailor
FOUND IN: Ireland
ST RcRCTRaY (Full)
Robert Cinnamond, "The Rambling Youth" (on IRRCinnamond03)
NOTES: The description is based on John Moulden's transcription from IRRCinnamond03 included in the Traditional Ballad Index Supplement.
There appear to be missing pieces to the story. The text says Jack "can find no employ" [is a robbery missing at this point?] and he "took ... flight" with his "darling"; after their night together "she proved my overthrow." Were the "turks [cruel men] and heathens" in the tavern police? - BS
More likely they are Catholics, I think. According to Eric Partridge's A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, a "Turk" was a gutter word for Irishmen. If "Turk" is used in that sense, it seems reasonable to assume that Jack is English, and Protestant, and is claiming to have been attacked by Irish Catholics. No doubt a convenient excuse.... - RBW
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