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Oh Cruel

[ Roud 5997 ; Ballad Index BGMG196 ; Bodleian Roud 5997 ; trad.]

Kate Rusby learned Cruel from the book Ballads and Songs of Lancashire and sang it on her 2003 CD Underneath the Stars. A live recording from Leeds City Varieties Music Hall in September 2002 was included in 2004 on her DVD Live From Leeds.


Kate Rusby sings Cruel

Cruel were my parents, to tear my love from me,
Cruel was the pressgang that took him off to sea,
Cruel was the little boat that rowed him off the strand,
And cruel was the big ship, that took him from the land.

Chorus (after each verse):
Haul away, boys, haul away,
Haul away, boys, haul away.

Cruel was the water, that ship it sailed upon,
Cruel was the fair wind, for now my loves he’s gone,
Had you blown a roaring gale they’d have left him on dry land,
Where he would walk besides me and I would hold his hand.

The ring beneath my pillow, is the ring he gave to me,
I’ll wear it on my finger, for all the world to see,
But cruel was the captain, the bo’sun, and the men,
For they didn’t give a farthing if I saw my love again.

(repeat first verse)