Pretty Nancy of London (Jolly Sailors Bold)

DESCRIPTION: The singer writes to tell his love of the hardships endured by sailors. He describes a horrible storm he recently endured; "a sailor must yield to whatever may come." He assures Nancy he is remembering her as best he can
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1920 (Greenleaf/Mansfield-BalladsAndSeaSongsOfNewfoundland)
KEYWORDS: storm sea love separation floatingverses
FOUND IN: Britain(England(Lond)) US(SE,So) Canada(Mar,Newf)
REFERENCES (9 citations):
Palmer-FolkSongsCollectedBy-Ralph-VaughanWilliams, #36, "Pretty Nancy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Randolph 78, "Pretty Nancy of London" (1 text, 1 tune)
Peacock, pp. 568-570, "Nancy from London" (1 text, 3 tunes)
Karpeles-FolkSongsFromNewfoundland 53, "Nancy of London" (1 text, 1 tune)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore2 130, "Sweet William and Nancy" (1 text, mixed with "Green Grows the Laurel" and other material)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore4 130, "Sweet William and Nancy" (1 excerpt, 1 tune)
Greenleaf/Mansfield-BalladsAndSeaSongsOfNewfoundland 33, "Nancy from London" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Leach-FolkBalladsSongsOfLowerLabradorCoast 49, "Lovely Nancy from England" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Guigné-ForgottenSongsOfTheNewfoundlandOutports, pp. 284-287, "Nancy of London (Nancy from Yarmouth)" (2 texts, 2 tunes)

Roud #407
Kenneth Pink, "Fair Nancy from London" (on NFAGuigné01)
Cyril Poacher, "Nancy of Yarmouth" (on Voice12)

cf. "Ye Gentlemen of England (I)" [Laws K2]
Tall Grow the Rushes
NOTES [163 words]: Leach-FolkBalladsSongsOfLowerLabradorCoast 49: "This song should not be confused with 'Nancy of Yarmouth' or 'Jimmy and Nancy,' and so forth. Although it borrows heavily from other songs, it is a distinct and separate piece."
The "green grow the laurels" verse is
Green grow the laurels and the tops of them small,
For love is a flower that hangs o'er us all,
For the green leaves will wither and the roots will decay,
But the red rose will flourish when my love comes from sea
The "ship in distress" theme is from "Nancy of Yarmouth". The "Green grow the laurels" verse has only those four words in common with Green Grows the Laurel (Green Grow the Lilacs) - BS
Classifying versions of this song is indeed very difficult; Roud in fact includes a number of versions titled "Nancy of Yarmouth." The title also adheres frequently to "William and Nancy (II) (Courting Too Slow)" [Laws P5]. There are some fragments beyond classification. This is the best we can do. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.2
File: R078

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2022 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.