Nancy, Lovely Nancy (MacEdward Leach)

So late one evening
all in the month of May,
We hoist'd our British colours,
for Boston sailed away,
Where the hills and fields were guarded
with pretty girls all 'round;
We had one sailor lad on board
all in his uniform,
He wrote his love a letter,
give her to understand,
That he was going to leave her,
bound to some foreign land.

When she received this letter,
straightway to him did go,
Saying, Jimmy, my love, Jimmy,
are you going to leave me so?
For nine long months or better
I've been courting thee,
So stay at home, prove kind,
and marry me.

If I was to stay at home, my dear,
while others go in my place,
Wouldn't it be a scandal,
likewise a big disgrace?
For the King he wrote for seamen bold,
and I for one must go,
Not for my very life, love,
would I have answered no.

Then I'll cut off my yellow locks,
men's clothing I'll put on,
And I will go 'long with you
and be your servant man;
If on some field of battle
you may receive a ball,
I'll bandage up your bleeding wounds
if on me you'll call.

Your waist it is too slight, my love,
your fingers they are too small
To wait on me in battle
where many a brave lad falls,
Where cannons loud do rattle
and musket shells do fly,
With the silver trumpets sounding
to end all dying cries.

Besides, there are some pretty girls
from Bristol brave,
If I should go a-courting
what would my Nancy say?
Your Nancy she would say,
Jimmy, be kind and true to me,
And I will be your Nancy
whatever it costs me.

Oh, Nancy, lovely Nancy,
those words have won my heart,
Come let us get married this night
before we'll part.
This couple they got married
and both crossed o'er to Maine.
We wish them health and happiness,
also myself the same.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a British broadside ballad, Farewell, Charming Nancy, [Laws K14] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957) archived as The Sailor's Farewell at the Bodleian Library Nroadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 25(1704) ....####

Collected in 1951 from Cyril O'Brien [ca.1902-?] of Trepassey, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).


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