Mudcat Café message #3860803 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #161981   Message #3860803
Posted By: Richie
14-Jun-17 - 11:19 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Died for Love Sources: PART IV
Subject: RE: Origins: Died for Love Sources: PART IV

This is Sailor Boy, Oikotype C, which is the oldest text. The original broadside, as reflected in two archaic US versions and the lines from John Gay in 1720, is missing. The English broadsides on c.1810 represent a secondary reduction and Oikotype C is based largely on this reduction. There are 10 extant versions, one from England and the rest from North America. Here are two short excerpts from my website which gives all the texts in full:

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Oikotype C: Originally English then English and Irish. The earliest known print begins "Down by a crystal river side" and is represented by Ca, "The Sailor Boy." ("Down by a christal river side") from Merry Songs No. 15, printed by J. Evans, London, c1810, Cb, "The Maid's Lament for her Sailor Boy," a London broadside by J. Catnatch printer dated between 1813 and 1838 and Cc, "Sailor Boy" by London printer Pitts dated between 1819 and 1844. There is no significant difference in text between the three extant print versions. These prints are regarded as a secondary reduction of an earlier, largely unknown[], archaic English print.

The opening stanza with its pastoral setting is reminiscent of the 2nd stanza of the 1686 broadside, "Constant Lady and the False-Hearted Squire"-- widely borrowed by singers of the Died for Love songs. The older English print is only known by three lines of text from a missing broadside that was used by John Gay in 1720 for his recomposed ballad on the Sailor Boy theme, "Black Eyed Susan." The archaic identifiers "Sweet William" and "jovial sailors, tell me true" of "archaic" Oikotype C can therefore be considered older than A or B and the unknown print is dated c.1680-c.1718. The C Oikotype has the French ships identifier found in the Irish A which is presumed to have been borrowed from "archaic" C. The fact that versions of C were collected in America and that only one extant version was collected in the UK means that while Oikotype C virtually disappeared in the UK, it has already been brought to America probably during the Colonial Period. This is further evidence of the antiquity of C which had been replaced by D in England by the mid-to-late 1800s.

As far as the known print versions, there are the three lines from John Gay and three nearly identical broadsides (Ca will suffice):

Black-Eyed Susan: A Ballad (John Gay, 1720- print)

4    Oh! where shall I my true love find!
5 Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true,
6    If my sweet William sails among the crew?

Here's Ca, "The Sailor Boy," from the collection, "Merry Songs," No. 15, printed by J. Evans, London, dated c.1810. This represents a secondary reduction of C, with "crystal" replacing "murmuring" and Jemmy" replacing "William":

15. The Sailor Boy (print)

1. Down by a christal river side,
Where silver streams did sweetly glide,
I heard a fair maiden making her moan,
How can I live now my Jemmy's gone.

2. Go fetch me some little boat
That on the ocean I may float,
Thro' the French ships as they pass by
Enquiring for my sailor boy.

3. She had not sailed long on the deep
Before five sail of the French ships she did meet,
Come tell me ye jovial ship's crew,
If my true love sails along with you.

4. O no fair lady he is not here,
For he is drown'd I greatly fear,
For on yonder green island as I past by
There we did lose your poor sailor boy.

5. She wrung her hands and tore her hair
Just like a woman in despair,
Her boat against the rocks she run,
O I ne'er can live now my Jemmy's gone.

6. So come ye maids who dress in black,
That for a sailor boy you do lack,
With a black topmast and sails so wide,
Which parted me and my sailor boy.

7. Down by the silent shady grove,
There will I mourn for my true love,
And tell the small birds all my grief,
For they alone afford some relief.

Gay's text corresponds to the last two lines of Stanza 3 of the "Sailor Boy" broadside by Evans. The traditional record of Oikotype C is small and includes one excellent version from England collected by R.V. Williams in 1907.

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Nine versions represent the traditional record of the opening stanza ("murmuring river side") of Oikotype C. Many of the later US versions have only the 1st stanza and no other archaic identifiers. Other identifiers are "jovial crew," "jovial ship's crew" or "jovial sailors" and the name, "Jimmy" which are found rarely found together. One such archaic version is "Sailor Boy" as sung by Edward Hovington of Quebec who learned it from an Irishman in Canada in 1847. Even though Hovington's version is missing the main stanza ("Down by the murmuring river side") it still qualifies as a version of Oikotype C. The rational is this: "Archaic" Oikotype C, the oldest version originally had two opening stanzas (murmuring river side/Early early) and was later rewritten. One rewrite was Oikotype A printed in Ireland in the 1770s (see Goggin) which removed the "murmuring river side" stanza and "Early early" became the new opening stanza. Evidence of this apparent in two versions from the Untied States, the oldest being the 1824 "Mermuring[sic] Side" which begins:

1. Down by one murmuring river side
Where purling streams do gently glide
I herd a fair maid making her moan
How can I live and my true love gone?

2. It was early, early all in the spring
He went on board for to serve his king
The raging seas and the winds blew high,
Which parted me and my sailor boy.

and also Cox B from West Virginia:

1 Way down on Moment's river side,
The wind blew fair a gentle glide;
A very pretty maid sat there a-moan,
"O what shall I do? My true love's gone.

2 "If ten thousand were enrolled,
My love would make the brightest show,
The brightest show of every one;
I'll have my true love or else have none.

3 "It was early in the spring,
He went on sea to serve his king;
The day was clear, the wind blew fair,
Which parted me and my dearest dear.

The Goggin Irish print of c.1770 removed "murmuring river side" and "Early early" became the opening. This change was kept in subsequent Irish prints and it also became part of Irish tradition. The English print versions published in 1810 (see Ca above) also reflected a change: "murmuring" was changed to "crystal" and the 'Early, early" opening, now printed in Ireland, was removed. "Sweet William," as reflected in John Gay's adaptation, was changed in this secondary reduction to "Jemmy" (Jimmy). Assuming this change occurred in the late 1700s and early 1800s as the two archaic US versions predict, this would mean that the original unknown Oikotype C was printed in the late 1600s to early 1700s with "murmuring river side" and "early early" as the second or third stanza. John Gay's recreation, which represents the unknown print version, used the common ballad name, "Sweet William," as well as "jovial sailors," another commonplace in sailor songs. Since the original print of the C Oikotype is unknown, reproducing it here would be more speculation. It is best represented by the 1824 traditional version Murmuring Side. The ur-ballad that follows will represent the second reduction found in the London broadsides of c.1810 with the "early, early" stanza removed. Some elements of "archaic" C will appear in the identifiers and ur-ballad.

Some Identifiers of Oikotype C
1) "murmuring river side," "moment's river side" then "crystal river side"
2) Originally "William" (as John Gay's "Sweet William") then "Jemmy" or "Jimmy"
3) "greatest show"
4) "jovial ship's crew" "jovial sailors" "jovial crew"
5) "fetch me some boat"
6) Down to some/a silent "shady grove"

Murmuring River Side-- Oikiotype C (secondary reduction)

1. Down by yon murmurin' river side
Where silver streams do gently glide
I heard a fair maid making her moan
"How can I live now my Jimmy's gone?"

2. "His rosy cheeks, his coal-black hair,
Has drawn my heart all in a snare;
His ruby lips so soft and fine,
Ten thousand times I've thrust in mine."

3. "And if ten thousand were in a row,
My love would make the brightest show,
The brightest show of every one;
I'll have my love or I'll have none."

4. Go fetch me some little boat
That on the ocean I may float,
Thro' the French ships as they pass by
Inquiring for my sailor boy.

5. She had not sailed long in the deep
Before some French ship she chanced to meet
Come jovial sailors come tell me true
If my young Jimmy sails along with you?

6. "No, no, fair maiden, he is not here,
For he is drownded poor soul I fear,
On yon green islands as we passed by
It was there we lost our young sailor boy."

7. She wrung her hands, she tore her hair
Much like some woman in despair,
Her boat up against some rock did run,
"How can I live now Jimmy's gone?"

8. The wind did blow and the waves did roll,
Which washed his body to the shore;
She viewed him well in every part,
With melting tears and bleeding heart.

9. With pen and ink she wrote a song,
She wrote it large, she wrote it long;
On every line she dropped a tear,
And every verse cried, "O my dear!"

10. So come ye maids who dress in black,
That for a sailor boy you do lack,
With a black topmast and sails so wide,
Which parted me and my sailor boy.

11. Down by the silent shady grove,
There will I mourn for my true love,
And tell the small birds all my grief,
For they alone afford some relief.

12. Six weeks from then this maid was dead,
And on her breast this letter laid:
"Go dig my grave both wide and deep,
And strew it well with roses sweet.

13 "Plant by my side a willow tree,
To many years wave over me,
And on my breast a turtle dove,
To tell the world I died for love."

The broadsides and Flint's version end with stanza 11. The 1824 tradition version from the ship's log has:

O this fair maid on a sick bed fell
And for a doctor loudly did call,
My pain is great and I cannot live
And she descended unto her grave.

Most of the US versions have the "Died for Love" stanza added on as in 12 and 13. Stanza 8 (viewing his dead body) is rare and found only in one other version. Stanza 10 is from the broadsides and is a poorly constructed "sailor's mourning" stanza. Jemmy (Jimmy) is retained throughout as in the broadsides and the RV Williams English version. There are two archaic US versions with both opening stanzas which reflect "archaic" C, the missing broadside.
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