Jimmy And Nancy (Kenneth Peacock)
(Nancy of Yarmouth; The Barbadoes Lady)

Lovers, I pray, lend an ear to my story,
Take an example by this constant tale;
'Tis of two young lovers were blessed in their glory,
Nancy of Yarmouth, a beauty so frail.

She was a merchant's fair daughter,
Heiress of fifteen hundred a year;
A young man he courted her to be his jewel,
The son of a gentleman who lived near.

Many long years this maiden he courted,
When they were infants in love did agree;
When to an age this couple arrived,
Cupid an arrow between them did speed.

They made a promise for to get married,
But when their parents the same came to hear,
They to the heart of their beautiful daughter,
Acted a part that was base and severe.

"Daughter," they said, "give o'er your proceedence,
If it's against our consent you do wed;
Forever more we'll resolve to disown you,
If you do wed one that is so meanly bred."

Her mother said: "You're of a great fortune,
Besides, you're beautiful, charming, and young;
You are a match, my dear child, that is fitting
For any lord that is in Christendom."

Then did reply this beautiful damsel:
"Riches and honour I both do defy;
If I am denied of my own dearest jewel,
Farewell to this world which is all vanity."

Then for the young man they sent in a passion,
Saying, "Forever, kind sir, take your leave;
I have a match that's more fitting for my daughter,
Therefore it is but folly to grieve."

"Honourèd father," then said those two lovers,
"Promised we are by the powers above;
Our constant hearts can't never be parted,
Our eager desire no longer must stay."

Then said the father: "A trip on the ocean,
Jimmy shall go in a ship of my own;
I consent he shall wed my beautiful daughter
When to fair Yarmouth again he returns."

'Round each other's necks their arms they enfolded,
Saying, "My dear, when you are on the sea,
Those tideless days will ever discover,
And bring you safe to the arms of your dear."

"Therefore, my dear lovely jewel, be constant,
For by the Virgin if you were untrue,
My troublèd ghost will ever torment you,
Dead or alive I will have none but you."

Beautiful Nancy then said: "Dearest Jimmy,
Here, take this ring in the pledge of my vow;
There with your heart keep it safe in your bosom,
Carry it with you wherever you go."

"When on the ocean, my dear, I am sailing,
Thoughts of my jewel my compass shall steer;
If fate should prove cruel, oh my dearest jewel,
That you and I each other shall see."

Then with a sorrowful sigh they departed,
The wind next morning blew pleasant and gay;
All things being ready, the Sea Mare regally
All for Bermuda straight she did steer.

Jimmy was floating on the wide ocean,
Their cruel parents were prating awhile;
They to the heart of their beautifu daughter
With cruel gold did strive to beguile.

Many a lord of fame bright and breeding
Came for to court this young beautiful maid;
But all their gold and favour she slighted.
"Constant I will be to my jewel," she said.

Now for a while we'll leave this fair maiden,
And tell how things with her lover agreed.
In the isle of Bermuda the ship safe arrivèd,
Which provèd the means of their fatal overthrow.

Jimmy was charming in every feature;
A Bermuda lady whose riches were great
On him fixed her eyes, saying, "If I get not
That brave English sailor I"ll die for his sake."

She dressèd herself in gallant attires,
With costly diamonds she plaited her hair;
A hundred slaves dressed in white to attend her,
She sent for the young man to come to her there.

"Now, noble sailor," she cries, "can you fancy
A lady whose fortune and riches are great?
A hundred slaves you shall have to attend you,
And musicks to charm you at your silent sleep.

"In robes of gold, my dear, I will deck you,
Jewels and pearls I'll lay at your feet;
In chariots of gold you shall ride at your pleasure,
If you can both love me, now answer me straight."

Amazed with wonder whilst he stood a-gazing,
"Superb noble lady," not long he replied,
"In fair England I am vowed to a lady,
At my returning to make her my bride.

"She is a charming, beautiful damsel,
She has my heart, I can never love more;
I buried my eyes in her beautiful features,
There's no other charmer on this earth I adore."

Hearing this she did rave in distraction,
Saying, "Unfortunate maid I am to love cold;
I must not blame him because he is constant,
True love I find is much better than gold."

A costly jewel she instantly gave him,
Then in her trembling hand took a knife;
One fatal blow before they could save her,
Quickly she put an end to her life.

Great lamentation was made for this maiden,
Jimmy on board of the ship he did steer;
And then to fair England homeward he sailèd,
With longing desires to meet with his dear.

When that her father heard he was a-coming,
A letter he wrote to the bo's'n his friend,
Saying: "A handsome reward I will give you,
If you but the life of young Jimmy will end."

Devoid of all grace and for the sake of money,
This cruel bo's'n the same did complete;
When on the deck so lovantly talking,
He suddenly plungèd him into the deep.

In the dead of the night when all was a-sleeping
His trembling ghost to his love did appear,
Saying, "Arise, now come, dearest Nancy,
Perform the vows that you made to your dear.

"You are my own, so tarry no longer,
Seven long years for your sake I have wait;
Heaven does ever wonder with pleasure,
The bride-ghost is ready, therefore come away."

She cries: "Who is that in under my window?
Surely it is not the voice of my love."
Lifting her head from her soft down pillow,
Straight to the casement she did comply.

"Jimmy," she cries, "If my father should hear you,
We should be ruined and there quick repelled."
To this he sighed: "I will instantly meet you."
"With my two maidens I'll come to you there."

Her night-gown bordered with gold and with silver,
Carelessly around her body she throws;
With her two maids dressed in white to attend her,
To meet with her true love she instantly goes.

Close in his arms the spirit enfold her.
"Jimmy," she cries, "you're more colder than clay;
Surely you can never be the man I admired,
For paler than death you appear unto me."

"Yes, my dear creature, I am your true love,
Dead or alive you were to be my own;
Now for my vows, my dear, I am ready
To follow you to a watery tomb."

Her maidens heard of her sad lamentation,
But his apparition indeed could not see;
Thinking their lady had fell in distraction,
They strived to persuade her contented to be.

This trembling lady was so affrighted,
Amazing she stood by the brink of the sea,
With her eyes lifted in heaven, saying,
"Oh, cruel parents, heaven reward you for your cruelty.

"My cruel father has been my undoing,
And now I will sleep in a watery tomb;
Now for my vows, my dear, I am ready,
To follow you to a watery tomb."

But still she cries, "I'm coming,
And on your bosom I will soon fall asleep."
When this she had spoke, this unfortunate lady,
He suddenly plunged her into the deep.

Two or three days before the appearance,
Those two unfortunate lovers were seen
In each other's arms on the waves were a-floating
By the side of the ship in a watery tomb.

This cruel old bo's'n was struck with remorse,
Soon did confess the deed he had done;
Showing the letter that came from her father,
That was the cause of those lovers' sad doom.

On board of the ship he was tried for a murder,
And at the yardarm was hung for the same;
Her father broke his heart for the love of his daughter,
Before that the ship into harbour came.

This cursèd gold has caused destructions,
And why should riches strive after gain?
I hope this story wil be a warning
That cruel parents might never do the same.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a British broadside ballad, Nancy of Yarmouth (Jemmy and Nancy; The Barbadoes Lady) [Laws M38] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957) ....####

Collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1958 from Isaac Freeman Bennett [1896-1981] of St Paul's, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.682-686, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that "this ballad has just about everything a traditional love-death ballad can have - early betrothal, cruel parents, forced separation, attempted seduction in a foreign country, adventure on the high seas, exchange of love tokens, murder, love-ghost visitations, and finally, of course, the consummation in death. As a broadside it appears in Garret's Merrie Book Of Garlands with fifty-six verses, but this Newfoundland version is the longest and best I have seen collected from oral tradition."


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