Tarry Sailor (Kenneth Peacock)

I am poor Jack just returned from shore,
Lucky is my po'tion;
While I have plenty of gold in store,
Long time I have plowed on the ocean.

To his sweetheart's house Jack straight did go
To see whether she would wed or no,
Saying, "Nancy, will you, yes or no,
Will you wed with a tarry sailor?"

Up spoke Nance all with a frown,
"To think I'd wed a sailor, no, not I.
If I could get a man of a high renown
Would you think I'd wed a sailor?"

Jack shoved his hand into his purse
Pulling out handfuls of gold,
Saying, "Nancy, will you, yes or no,
Will you wed with a tarry sailor?"

Up spoke Nance all with a smile,
(The sight of the money did her heart beguile)
"So I see you were joking all the while
To be sure that I love my sailor."

"If you were joking I did jest,
So that's not the question that I asked,
So I see 'tis the money that you love best,
And you won't get your sailor."

Jack set out in a public line
Plenty of gold and silver coin,
Which made poor Nance to repent and to pine,
That ever she refused her sailor.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a British broadside ballad, Will You Wed With A Tarry Sailor [Laws K37] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957). Also a variant of an early 19th-century British broadside ballad, Tarry Sailor, published by J Pitts (London) sometime between 1802 and 1819, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Firth C.13(198) ....####

This variant was collected in 1958 by Kenneth Peacock from Jim Bennett of St Paul's, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 1, pp.316-317, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A variant was also collected in 1977 by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best from John Hayman [1903-?] of Ramea, NL, and published as #56, Jack The Sailor, in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, p.101, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press ©1985/2003).

See more Lehr and Best songs.

Another variant was collected by MacEdward Leach, and published as #65, Jolly Jack in Folk Ballads And Songs Of The Lower Labrador Coast by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that this English sailor's song is also known as Jack Tar and has been traced back to the 1700s. He also commented that the song A Paper Of Pins has a similar theme.


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