Seven Years I Loved A Sailor (Kenneth Peacock) video

See also: Seven Years (Pamela Morgan)

Click to go down to Peacock's Variant B.

Click to go down to Peacock's Variant C.
#1190: YouTube video by oldirishladdie
©2010 ~ Used with permission ~


A fair maid walking in a flowery garden
A handsome sailor she chanced to see.
He looked at her as if he knew her,
Saying, "Pretty girl, will you marry me?"

"To marry you, sir, a man of honor,
A man of honor you seem to be,
To marry you, sir, a pretty maiden,
A young man's servant I'll never be."

"I don't want you for to be my servant,
I'll marry you, make you my bride,
And I'll have servants to wait upon you
While you and I in a carriage ride."

"I have a true lover of my own, sir,
And seven years he has crossed the sea,
And seven years I will wait upon him
Till he returns for to marry me."

"Pretty girl, don't you be so foolish
To wait so long for any young man,
He may be dead or he may be married,
Or he may be sick in some foreign land."

"If he's sick I will wish him better,
And if he's married I'll wish him joy,
And if he's dead I will wish him heaven,
What more can I wish for my sailor boy?"

When he found that she was so constant,
When he saw that she was so true,
He put his hand down into his pocket,
Pulled out a the ring they had broke in two.

Saying, "Seven years I have loved a lady,
Seven years I have crossed the sea,
And seven more she will wait no longer,
I am returned for to marry thee."

Collected in 1959 from Mrs Clara Sophia Stevens [1916-1978] of Bellburns, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 2 , pp.584-585, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Seven Years I Loved A Sailor (Variant B)
Click to go down to Variant C.

A maiden standing by her window,
A brisk young sailor she chanced to see;
He stepped up to her as if he knew her,
Saying, "Young girl, will you fancy me?"

"Fancy you, sir, a man of honor,
A man of honor you seem to be;
To fancy you and to love another,
Your waiting-maid, sir, I never will be.

"Seven years I've loved a sailor,
Seven years he's gone to sea,
Seven more I'll wait upon him,
Till he returns to marry me."

"Foolish maiden, oh how foolish,
To wait so long on any man;
Perhaps he's dead or perhaps he's married,
Or perhaps he's sick in some far off land."

"If he's sick I'll wish him better,
If he's married I'll wish him joy;
And if he's dead I'll wish him heaven,
For he was once my brave sailor boy."

"Seven years you have been loyal,
Seven years you have been true."
He put his hand in his waistcoat pocket,
Saying, "Here is the ring, love, I took from you.

"Seven years you have been loyal,
Seven years you have been true;
Seven more you'll wait no longer,
For I've come back to marry you."

Collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1952 from Mr John Francis and Mrs John Francis (Elizabeth) Mahoney [1904-?] of Stock Cove, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 2, pp.586-587, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Seven Years I Loved A Sailor (Flowery Garden) (Variant C)

As I walked out in a flowery garden,
A fair pretty maid oh I chanced to spy;
Stepping up to her thinking I knew her,
I said, "Pretty maid, will you fancy I?"

Perhaps you might be a man of honor,
A man of honor you seem to be."
"I'll marry thee, love, make you my true love;
I will get servants to wait on thee."

"Seven years I have loved a sailor,
Seven more he's been gone from me;
And seven more will I wait upon him,
Till he returns from across the sea."

"If seven years you have loved a sailor,
Perhaps he's married, dead, or drowned."
"And if he's married I'll love him better,
And if he's dead he's in glory crowned."

He drew his hand out of his pocket,
His fingers held a ring so small,
Saying, "Here's the ring, love, we broke between us."
Soon as she saw it down she did fall.

He threw his arms around her middle,
He gave her kisses, one, two, and three,
Saying, "I am yours, love, a single sailor,
Just returned from sea for to marry thee."

A short while after this fair young lady
Went to a dance one night so late;
Ths jealous young man he soon followed after
To prepare himself for a nobler fate.

He saw her dancing all with some other,
And jealousy came into his mind;
He then got ready a dose of poison,
He mixed it up with a glass of wine.

He gave it unto his own true lover.
She drank it down with a cheerful mind,
Not thinking that her own dear loved one
Put a dose of death in her blood-red wine.

Soon as she drank it, so soon she felt it.
"Oh, carry me home, oh my dear," cried she,
"The dose of liquor you lately gave me
Makes me so ill, love, as I can be."

"'Twas in your liquor I put strong poison,
Sure I have drunk the same as thee;
In each other's arms, love, we'll die together."
Young men beware, don't court jealousy.

Collected in 1960 by Kenneth Peacock from Joshua Osborne of Seal Cove, White Bay, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 2, pp.588-589, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.
####.... Authors of all three of the above variants are unknown. They are variants of early 19th-century British broadside ballads, Pretty Fair Maid (The Maiden in the Garden; The Broken Token) [Laws N42] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957). All three are also related variants of an early 19th-century British broadside ballad, The Loyal Sailor , published by J Farraby (Hull) sometime between 1803 and 1838, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 17(180a) ....####
The variant in the video above closely resembles variant B and features an arrangement recorded by the Dorymen (1497, trk#7, 1974, Marathon Records, Toronto, ON).

See more songs by the Dorymen.

Kenneth Peacock noted that although probably no older than two or three hundred years in its present form, this 'returned-lover' ballad goes back much further, at least as far as the Crusades. Similar tales are part of the folklore of many European countries, and French equivalents have been collected in the St Lawrence Valley from Montreal right around to the Bay of Chaleur. In Folk Songs Of Old Quebec, Marius Barbeau quotes a variant of Germine which has three young knights interrogating the girl. She answers:

Je ne suis pas fillette, fillette à marier.
Je me suis marié quinze ans et demi.
A plus de sept années, mon mari est parti.


I am not a girl, a girl to marry.
I myself have been married fifteen and a half years.
For more than seven years, my husband has been gone.
Peacock continued, seven seems to be the magic number in all the members of this family of ballads. Later on in Germine, one of the knights is singled out as her returned husband, but first he must remember the date of the wedding, the dress she wore, and even the colour of her horse. As in this English version, the clincher comes when he produces the broken ring:

T'en souviens-tu, Germine? Tes anneaux d'or uni...
Je t'ai serré' si fort, si fort dedans mes bras,
Que ton anneau cassa. Germine, le voilà!


Then do you remember, Germine? Your plain gold rings...
I held you so tightly, so strong inside my arms,
That your ring broke. Germine, here it is!
Kenneth Peacock also notes that The Dark-Eyed Sailor tells exactly the same story of lovers who broke a gold ring and were parted for seven years. All the Newfoundland variants of Seven Years I Loved A Sailor are similar, except Mr Osborne's Flowery Garden, which carries the story beyond the simple betrothal vow into more highly-charged emotional states, bringing both lovers to their tragic deaths. This ending seems to have been borrowed from a ballad called Oxford City, a popular nineteenth-century broadside which was later collected from oral tradition in the south of England by Vaughan Williams and others.

An abbreviated variant was collected, arranged, and recorded as Seven Years by Pamela Morgan of Grand Falls, NL, on her second solo release (Seven Years, trk#7, 2002 CD, Amber Music, Topsail, NL).


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