Mudcat Café message #3861058 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #161981   Message #3861058
Posted By: Richie
15-Jun-17 - 01:35 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Died for Love Sources: PART IV
Subject: RE: Origins: Died for Love Sources: PART IV
Hi,

This completes the study of fundamental oikotypes of Sailor Boy. Oikotype E is found in the US south and Mid-West and is not derived from any known printed versions. Here are D and E:

Oikotype D: English. It begins similarly to B, with the variation on the first line, "A sailor's life is a merry life," and is represented by the later broadside, "Sailor Boy and his Faithful Mary." D also has the stanza beginning, "Four-and-twenty sailors, in a row" which is found in English tradition. The ships that Mary hails are the "Queen's ship(s)," the sailor is "sweet William" and he was last seen and presumed dead on the "green island." The easiest identifier is found in the last lines where Mary flings her body into the deep-- "in her Williams arms to lay fast asleep." This represents a more recent (mid1800s- early 1900s) English tradition and is easily identified by its first and last lines.

The print text of D dates back to as early as 1819 to 1844 when the broadside "Sailor Boy and his Faithful Mary" was issued by Pitts, a printer at Wholesale Toy and marble war[e]house. 6 Great st Andrew street 7 dils [sic] London. Additional broadsides were printed included one by J. Harkness of Preston between 1840-1860. The first known extant traditional version was published by F.L. in 1862 under the title, "Sailor Boy," see the article in The Monthly Packet of evening readings for younger members of the English Church, January--June 1862, London, by John and Charles Mozley.

Sailor Boy and his Faithful Mary- Oikotype D (print)

A sailor's life is a merry life:
They rob young women of their heart's delight,
Leaving them behind to sigh and mourn:
And never know when they will return.

Four-and-twenty sailors, in a row;
And my sweet William cuts the brightest show.
He is proper, tall, genteel with all,
If I don't have him I'll have none at all.

Father, bring me a little boat
That I may on the ocean float,
And every Queen's ship that I pass by
I may enquire for my sailor boy."

She had not sailed on the deep
When a queen's ship she chanc'd to meet.
You sailors all, pray tell me true,
Does my sweet William sail among your crew?

O no, fair lady, he is not here,
For he is drowned, I greatly fear.
On yon green island as we pass by
There we lost sight of our sailor boy.

Then she sat down for to write a song,
She wrote it freely and she wrote it long
At every verse she dropt a tear
Saying at the bottom, I have lost my dear.

She wrung her hands and tore her hair,
Jut like a woman in great despair,
Her little boat against a rock did run:
Saying, how can I live now my William's gone.

She wrung her hands and tore her hair,
Jut like a woman in great despair,
She flung her body into the deep
In her William's arms to lay fast asleep.

The last two stanzas have the same first line while Mary, identified by the title, is not not named in the body of the text. As pointed out by F.L. who published a traditional version in 1862, the last stanza offers a miracle reunion of the lovers: "Surely the last verse but one in the history of this nautical Evangeline, while the most absurd from its utter impossibility, is almost pathetic in its conceit." Here's the text in full, which is missing the opening stanza:

There's five-and-twenty all in a row,
And William he is the fairest show;
He is both handsome, genteel, and tall:
I'll have my William, else none at all.

"O Father! Father! build me a boat,
That on the ocean I may float;
And every king-ship that I pass by,
I will inquire for my sailor-boy."

I had not sailed far upon the deep,
Before a king-ship I chanced to meet:
"O jolly sailor, come tell me true,
If my sweet William's along with you?"

"Oh no, fair lady, he is not here,
For he is drowned, I greatly fear.
The other night, when the wind blew high,
It was then you lost your young sailor-boy."

She sat her down, and she wrote a song;
She wrote it wide, and she wrote it long;
At every line she shed a tear,
And at every verse she cried, "William dear!''

She wrung her hands, and she tore her hair,
Just like some lady in deep despair;
She plunged her body into the deepó
In the sailor's arms she lies fast asleep.

One of the most famous versions of D was collected by W. Percy Merrick from Henry Hills of Lodsworth, Sussex, in 1899, and was first published in the Folk Song Journal, vol.I, [issue 3], p. 266. It begins with the standard opening:

A sailor's life is a merry life.
They rob young girls of their heart's delight,
Leaving them behind to sigh and mourn.
They never know when they will return.

Cecil Sharp collected a full version titled, "Sweet William," which was sung by Tom Sprachlan at Hambridge, Somerset in September of 1903. [Cecil Sharp Manuscript Collection (at Clare College, Cambridge) (CJS2/10/28)] It's clear that D was very popular around the turn of the century in England and that it replaced C which was exported years earlier and had virtually disappeared in England. D, however was not popular in Scotland, or Ireland, and never had an effect on the versions already established in North America (see only a single stanza from Creighton). Traditional versions stay close to the broadside text except for the added Died for Love ending stanza.

Some Identifiers of Oikotype D
1) "A sailor's life is a merry life"
2) has stanza, "Four-and-twenty sailors, in a row"
3) sweet William
4) "Queen's ship" but varies
5) Has same first two lines beginning "She wrung her hands" in two different stanzas
6) ends, "in her William's arms to lay fast asleep."

Sailor Boy and his Faithful Mary- Oikotype D

1. A sailor's life is a merry life:
They rob young women of their heart's delight,
Leaving them behind to sigh and mourn:
And never know when they will return.

2. Four-and-twenty sailors, in a row;
And my sweet William cuts the brightest show.
He is proper, tall, genteel with all,
If I don't have him I'll have none at all.

3. Father, bring me a little boat
That I may on the ocean float,
And every Queen's ship that I pass by
I may inquire for my sailor boy."

4. She had not sailed on the deep
When a queen's ship she chanced to meet.
You sailors all, pray tell me true,
Does my sweet William sail among your crew?

5. O no, fair lady, he is not here,
For he is drowned, I greatly fear.
On yon green island as we pass by
There we lost sight of our sailor boy.

6. Then she sat down for to write a song,
She wrote it freely and she wrote it long
At every verse she dropped a tear
Saying at the bottom, "I have lost my dear."

7. She wrung her hands and tore her hair,
Jut like a woman in great despair,
Her little boat against a rock did run:
Saying, how can I live now my William's gone.

8. O father, father, come dig my grave
Dig it wide both long and deep
And on my tombstone put two turtle doves
So the world might see that I died for love.

9. She wrung her hands and tore her hair
Just like a lady in deep despair
She flung her body down in the deep
In her true love's arms she fell fast asleep.

* * * *

Oikotype E: US Mid-West and South. This oikotype is not based on any print version but has evolved from a stanza found in Sailing Trade c.1800:

5. The colour of amber is my true love's hair
His red rosy cheeks doth my heart ensnare
His ruby lips are soft, and with charms.
I've lain many a night in his lovely arms.

This stanza is a description by the maid of her Sailor Boy to the Captain so that he may determine if he's seen the Sailor Boy or knows his whereabouts. The order of the text in the first line was changed and has become "Dark/Black is the color of my true love's hair." By placing the stanza first, the variant becomes a version of Oikotype E and several versions are titled "Black is the color." The earliest extant version with "Dark/Black is the color" stanza first was written down by William Larken from Mrs. C. Froyaughehand of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1863 [from Ruth Ann Musick-The Old Album of William A. Larkin; JAFL Vol. 60, 1947]. It is titled, "Sailler[sic] Boy" but the placement of the stanza is first:

Dark was the coler of my true loves hair
His eyes resembled a lady fair
For no one else can give me joy
None will I have but a sweet sailler boy.

Here are two other early examples collected in the US in the early 1900s.

Brown was the color of my true love's hair,
His cheeks resembled a lily's fair.
If ever he returns it will give me joy,
For none can I wed but my sweet sailor boy.
   [2nd stanza, Belden A, 1909 from Mary Van Wormser of the West Plains High School, MO]

Black is the color of my true love's hair,
His cheeks are as red as the roses fair.
If he would return it would give me joy,
For none will I have but my sweet sailor boy.
   [1st stanza, Sailor's Sweetheart- Missouri, collected in 1928 by Randolph]

Compare to the standard 1st stanza of the different folk song "Black is the Color" sung and popularized by Niles:

Dark is the color of my sweetheart's hair;
His cheeks are like some roses fair;
The prettiest face and neatest hands,
I love the ground whereon he stands.
[August 1929, collected by Mellinger Henry from Mary E. King, in Gatlinburg Tennessee.]

The first two lines are essentially the same. In the earlier examples of Oikotype E, the last two lines are virtually the same:

If he would return it would give me joy,
For none will I have but my sweet sailor boy.

Oikotype E, popular in the mid-west US, has the "Dark/Black is the color" first stanza and uses that as its opening replacing the openings stanza of Oikotypes A-D. The remaining stanzas are standard with the "Died fof Love" ending stanza. Another unique stanza associated with Oikotype E follows:

She hadn't been sailing far on the main,
She spied three ships come in from Spain;
She hailed each captain as he drew nigh,
And of him she did inquire of her sweet sailor boy.
    [William H. Landreth's Civil War diary, 1865]

Some Identifiers of Oikotype E
1) Black/Dark is the color
2) bring me joy/sweet sailor boy
3) sailing on the main/ three ships from Spain
4) rocky isle (island)
5) drowned in the gulf
6) She called for a chair
7) sweet William (sweet Willie)

Black is the Color- Oikotype E

1. Black is the color of my true love's hair
His cheeks are like some roses fair
For no one else can give me joy,
None will I have but my sweet sailor boy.

2. Oh father oh father build me a boat
That on the ocean I may float
And every ship that I pass by
I will inquire for my sweet sailor boy

3. Just as she was crossing the main
She spied three ships all out of Spain
And as the captain he drew nigh
She inquired for her sweet sailor boy.

4. "Oh captain, captain tell me true
Does my Sweet William stay with you
Oh tell me quick and give me joy
For none will I have but my sweet sailor boy.

5. "Oh no dear lady, he is not here
He is drowned in the gulf I fear.
Near yon rocky isle as we passed by
There is where we lost your sweet sailor boy."

6. She run her boat against a rock
I thought the lady's heart was broke
She wrung her hands and tore her hair
Like a lady all in despair.

7. She called for a chair to sit upon
A pen and ink to write it down
And at the end of every line she shed a tear
And at the end of every verse cried, "Oh my dear."

8. It's dig my grave both wide and deep
Place a marble tombstone at my head and feet.
And on my breast a turtle dove
To testify that I died for love.

The foundation of Oikotype E is William Larkin's 1863 version. Randolph A is another full version. Some versions, with the identifiers of Oikotype E that have "Black is the color" as a secondary stanza (not the first stanza) also have other opening stanzas from A-D. In the US there's a blending of versions with the "drowned in the gulf," "main/Spain" and "joy/sailor boy" identifiers. The primary opening of versions with "Black is the color" as a secondary stanza is "dreary life" ("cruel life") associated with Scottish B. Following are some versions of Oikotype E, most have "Black is the Color" as the first stanza:

Sailler Boy- Mrs. Froyaughehand (OH) 1863 Larkin
Sailor Boy- Ada Belle Cowden (MO) 1909 Belden B
Sailor's Trade- Mary Van Wormser (MO) 1909 Belden C
Sailor Boy- A. K. Moore (NC) c.1915 Greer LV4
Sailor Boy- Mrs. Thomas (MO) 1928 Randolph A
Soldier Lover- Mary King (TN) 1929 Henry A
Black Is the Color- Cassity (KY) 1937 Lomax
Black is the Color- woman (MO) c.1956 Godsey
Sailor Boy- May Kennedy McCord (MO) c.1958 Beers/Max Hunter D
Black is the Color- Mrs. Bobbie Barnes (MO) 1958 Hunter B
Sweet Soldier Boy- Lee Monroe Presnell (NC) c.1961 Paton
My True Sailor Boy- Susie Daley (OK) pre1962 Moores
Soldier Boy- Buna Hicks (NC) 1966 Burton/Manning
Boatman, Boatman- O.B. Campbell (OK) 1971 Hunter F

It's apparent that Oikotype E is fairly old (guestimated as late 1700s early 1800s) and that some of the identifiers ("main/Spain" and "joy/sailor boy") originated in the US shortly after the ballad was brought over since they are not found in the UK.
* * * *

Richie