Mudcat Café message #3860661 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #161981   Message #3860661
Posted By: Richie
13-Jun-17 - 12:04 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Died for Love Sources: PART IV
Subject: RE: Origins: Died for Love Sources: PART IV
Hi,

Here are the two ur-ballads (composites) of Sailor Boy for the Irish Oikotype A. One is print and one is tradition. This is a reduced excerpt from my site:

Oikotype A: Irish. Begins with "Early, early in the spring" or "Early, Early All in the Spring," and is represented by the following Irish broadsides:
1)"Sailor Boy" by Goggins c.1770,
2) "A New Song call'd the Young Lady's Lamentation for the Loss of her True Love," printed by P. Brereton in Dublin. c.1867
3) "The Constant lover and her sailor boy" from Ballad Sheet Scrapbook I: part IV, from the Collection of Patrick Weston Joyce (1827- 1914) an Irish music collector; dated c. 1880 by chronology presented.
4) "The Young Lady's Lamentation for the Loss of her True Love" ("The night is long and I can find no rest") broadside by E.C. Yeats Cuala Press County Dublin, 1909.

The opening two lines (and sometimes the first stanza) are also found in the different ballad, "Early, Early in the Spring" (Laws M1 Roud #152) whose antecedent is the late 17th century Seaman's Complaint for his Unkind Mistress, of Wapping. See those opening lines also in Croppy Boy, which is an adaptation. What need to be made clear is: The Seaman's Complaint is not part of Sailor Boy and only has the opening lines in common-- they are different ballads.

The Seaman's Complaint for his Unkind Mistress, of Wapping.
To The Tune Of I love you dearly, I love you well, etc.   
Licens'd and Enter'd according to Order, etc.

When I went early in the Spring
on board a Ship to serve the King,
I left my dearest Love behind,
who said her heart for e're was mine.

Most versions use the first lines but several use the complete measure and shift to Sailor Boy text in stanza 2. Here's a composite of the four broadsides:

1. It was early, early all in the spring,
   When my love William went to serve the King (Queen),
   The raging seas and wind blew nigh (high),
   Which parted me and my sailor boy.

   [All that grieved him and troubled his mind,
    Was the leaving of his dear girl behind.]

2. The night is long and I can find no rest,
    The thoughts of my Willie runs in my breast,
    I'll search those green wood and valleys wide,
    Still hoping my true love to find.

3. Come make then for me a little boat
    For its on the ocean I mean to float,
    To view the French fleet as they pass by,
    And I'll still inquire for my sailor boy.

4. She had not sailed more then a day or too,
    When a French vessel came in my view.
    Oh Captain Captain tell me true
    Does my true love William sail on board with you?

5. "What sort of clothes did your Willie wear,
    Or what colour was your true lover's hair?"
    "A short blue jacket all bound with green,
    And the colour of amber was my true love's hair."

6. Indeed fair lady, he is not here,
    But he is drowned I gently fear,
    On yon green Island as we passed by,
    We lost five more and your sailor boy.

7. She wrong her hands tore her hair,
    Just like a lady in deep despair,
    Oh happy, happy is the girl she cried,
    That has her true love drowned by her side.

    [Her boat she flung against the rocks
    Crying, "What shall I do since my true love's lost?"]

    [Her little boat against a rock did run,
    Saying, "What shall I do when my Willie's gone?"]

8. I'll tell my dream to the hills high;
    And all the small birds as they fly,
    "Oh, happy, happy is the girl," she cried,
    "That has her true-love by her side."

9. She called for a pen and ink and paper too,
    That she might write her last adieu,
    At every letter she shed a tear,
    At every line she cried Willy dear.

10. Come all you seamen that sails along
    And all you boatmen that follow on.
    From the cabin boy to the main mast high,
    You must mourn in black for my sailor boy.

Stanza 2 is not standard but it corroborated in some traditional versions.

* * * *

The "early early" opening is identified with the fundamental Irish version. Two versions from America dated before 1850 have the "Early, Early" stanza. Both the Aussie version and the Tristan de Cuhna version found in the 1900s have the "Early, early" opening. The Sailor is usually "Willie" except for two exported versions which have "Jimmy" as found in Oikotype C. The letter writing stanza found in the "Early, Early" broadsides is rare in early Irish tradition. The suicide found in the Hollings Lincolnshire version is the same found in Butcher Boy and seems to be unique (or borrowed from Butcher Boy) so it will not be part of an ur-ballad representing that Oikotype A. In Kennedy's Wexford version there's also the rare "because she couldn't be a sailor's wife" suicide and a stanza found in Sharp's 100 English Folk Songs: "The grass it groweth on ev'ry lea/ The leaf it falleth from ev'ry tree/How happy that small bird doth cry/That hath her true love close to her side." This mirrors stanza 8 of the broadsides and both are ornamental additions from other sources although they will be included here. The "Sailors all in row" stanza found in only two exported versions and also found in Scottish print/tradition is not included. There's more variation among the "What kind of clothes" stanza(s) than the other standard stanzas. The common addition from Died for Love is the ending stanza, "Go dig my grave."

Some Identifiers:

1) Early Early (all) in the Spring
2) Night was long and I can find no rest
3) Willie (also William)
4) French fleet
5) yon green island

Early, Early All in the Spring (Ur-Ballad)

1. It was early, early all in the spring,
   When my love Willie went to serve the King,
   The raging seas and wind blew high,
   Which parted me and my sailor boy.

2. The night is long and I can find no rest,
    The thoughts of my Willie runs in my breast,
    I'll search those green wood and valleys wide,
    Still hoping my true love to find.

3. Come make then for me a little boat
    For its on the ocean I mean to float,
    To view the French fleet as they pass by,
    And I will inquire for my sailor boy.

4. She had not sailed more then a day or too,
    When a French vessel came into view.
    "Oh Captain Captain tell me true
    Does my true love Willie sail on board with you?"

5. "What sort of clothes did your Willie wear,
    Or what colour was your true lover's hair?"
    "A short blue jacket all bound with green,
    And the colour of amber was my true love's hair."

6. Indeed, fair lady, he is not here,
    But he is drowned I greatly fear,
    On yon green Island as we passed by,
    We lost five more and your sailor boy.

7. She wrung her hands tore her hair,
    Just like a lady in deep despair,
    Her little boat against a rock did run,
    Saying, "What shall I do when my Willie's gone?"

8. I'll tell my dream to the hills high;
    And all the small birds as they fly,
    "Oh, happy, happy is the girl," she cried,
    "That has her true-love by her side."

9. She called for a pen and paper to write a song,
    She wrote it wide and she wrote it long,
    And at every letter she shed a tear,
    At every line she cried, "Willie dear."

10. Come all you seamen that sails along
    And all you boatmen that follow on.
    From the cabin boy to the main mast high,
    You must mourn in black for my sailor boy.

11. Oh drape my coffin with the deepest black,
    And the headstone right above my head and neck
    And on my breast place a turtle dove
    To tell the world that I died for love.

Stanza 3 also begins with the standard "Oh father, father, come build me a boat" not found in older Irish versions. It should be noted that all Irish versions do not begin with "Early, Early" (see: Colm O Lochlainn's 1939 version) but "Early, Early" is the main identifier for Oikotype A and the Irish versions.

* * * *

Richie