Seaman and His Love, A (The Welcome Sailor) [Laws N29]
DESCRIPTION: The singer hears a girl wailing for her love, gone these seven years at sea. He offers a token from her love, saying he is dead and she should marry whoever carries it. She says she will mourn forever. The stranger reveals himself as her missing love
EARLIEST DATE: 1620 (Stationer's Register -- apparently)
KEYWORDS: love separation brokentoken
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South)) US(MW) Ireland Canada(Mar,Newf)
REFERENCES (11 citations):
Laws N29, "A Seaman and His Love (The Welcome Sailor)"
Brocklebank/Kindersley-DorsetBookOfFolkSongs, p. 3, "Midst of Night" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gardner/Chickering-BalladsAndSongsOfSouthernMichigan 53, "A Seaman and His Love" (1 text)
Henry/Huntingdon/Herrmann-SamHenrysSongsOfThePeople H581, pp. 318-319, "The Love Token" (1 text, 1 tune)
Peacock, pp. 530-533, "Jimmy and Nancy" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Creighton-MaritimeFolkSongs, p. 58, "Down by the Seaside" (1 text, 1 tune)
Grigson-PenguinBookOfBallads 77, "The Valiant Seaman's Happy Return to His Love, After a Long Seven Years' Absence" (1 text, presented as traditional though it includes references to Hero and Leander, "Ulisses" and Penelope, and Dido and Aeneas. Presumably it is a broadside reworking of a traditional text, this being the best candidate for the original)
Ashton-RealSailorSongs, #74, "The Welcome Sailor" (1 text)
Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex, ZN2883, "When Sol could cast no light"; ZN2884, "When Sol did cast no light"
DT 763, SEAMLOVE
ADDITIONAL: Walter de la Mare, _Come Hither_, revised edition, 1928; notes to #189, ("The Sailors") (1 text)
Bodleian, Douce Ballads 2(236a), "The Valiant Sea-Mans Happy Return to His Love, After a Long Seven Years Absence," P. Brooksby (London), 1672-1696; also Wood E 25(153), "The Valiant Sea-Mans Happy Return to His Love, After a Long Seven Years Absence"; Douce Ballads 2(237b), "The Valiant Seamans Happy Return to His Love, After a Long Seven Years Absence"; Bodleian, Firth c.13(188), "The Welcome Sailor" ("As I walked out one night, it being dark all over"), T. Birt (London), 1828-1829; Harding B 11(4088), 2806 c.17(462), Harding B 11(3681A), Harding B 25(2025), Harding B 11(949), "The Welcome Sailor"
cf. "John (George) Riley (I)" [Laws N36] and references there, especially N34
"I Am So Deep In Love" or "Through the Cool Shady Woods" (per broadsides Bodleian Douce Ballads 2(236a), Bodleian Wood E 25(153), Bodleian Douce Ballads 2(237b))
NOTES [138 words]: Bodleian Douce Ballads 2(236a) broadside seems to be the version cited above for Grigson-PenguinBookOfBallads 77; the theme and some lines match Creighton-MaritimeFolkSongs but, as the comment for Grigson-PenguinBookOfBallads 77 notes, there are a lot of additional frills.
The ballad is recorded on one of the CD's issued around the time of the bicentenial of the 1798 Irish Rebellion. See:
Franke Harte and Donal Lunny, "The Love Token" (on Franke Harte and Donal Lunny, "My Name is Napoleon Bonaparte," Hummingbird Records HBCD0027 (2001)) - BS
Of the later Bodleian broadsides, "The Welcome Sailor," all but Harding B 25(2025) have the anomalous line "soon as these words ["I'll wed no stranger"] she spoke her love grew stronger"; Harding B 25(2025) has "his love grew stronger" which agreees with the older broadsides. - BS
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