> Folk Music > Songs > The Effects of Love

The Effects of Love / On Humber Bank / Betsy Walton

[ Roud 1493 ; Master title: The Effects of Love ; G/D 6:1160 ; TYG 74 ; Ballad Index GrD61160 ; VWML PG/5/50 ; Bodleian Roud 1493 ; Mudcat 2038 ; trad.]

The Constant Lovers The Life of a Man Vaughan Williams in Norfolk

The Broadside sang Betsy Walton in 1971 on their album of Lincolnshire folk songs, The Gipsy’s Wedding Day. John Conolly returned to this song on his and Pete Sumner’s 1998 Fellside CD Trawlertown. He noted on the first album:

Collected by [Percy] Grainger at Barrow-on-Humber in 1906. [VWML PG/5/50] . […] One of many folk songs about deserted young women.

and on the second:

The ports of Hull and Grimsby are divided by the mile-wide waters of the River Humber, in which the Lincolnshire lass Betsy Walton is said to have drowned herself following her betrayal by a sailor. The text of this traditional song is related to another Lincolnshire classic, Died for Love, but the tune in this instance is from a Gloucestershire version quoted in A.L. Lloyd’s Folk Song in England.

Brenda Wootton sang Betsy Watson on her 1981 album Pasties and Cream. This track was also included in 1996 on her posthumous anthology Brenda Wootton.

Dan Quinn sang On Humber Bank in 2005 on Duck Soup’s eponymous CD Duck Soup.

Laura Ward sang On Humber Bank, on Ben Walker’s 2019 album Echo. This is a quite short, redacted version “based on a broadside ballad The Effects of Love, said to be the last note of a young lady of Hull who drowned herself in the Humber on Tuesday 17 December 1812”. Jon Wilks talked with Ben Walker about this song in February 2020 in Episode 3 of his Old Songs Podcast.


John Conolly sings Betsy Walton

Oh a brisk young sailor he courted me,
Stole away my life and my liberty.
Stole away them all with a free good will
And I confess that I love him still.

Oh and Betsy Walton is my name,
I have brought myself into grief and shame.
For the love of one who did ne’er love me,
Just a false young man I do plainly see.

Oh I did propose on one Sunday night
For to meet once more with my heart’s delight.
On the Humber banks where the billows roar,
And we parted there for to meet no more.

As a token that I do die for love
Oh and you shall see there a milk-white dove,
All above my wat’ry grave to fly
And it’s there you’ll find my poor body lie.

(repeat second verse)

Laura Ward sings On Humber Bank

Take care sweet maid for you are young
A man’s deluding flattering tongue
Did bring me down to grief and shame
Betsy Watson was my name

At rest with him I ne’er could be,
Until he had his will of me,
Disregarded everywhere
My grave was more that I could bear.

Dressed all in white, a comely show
To take us to the grave below
On Humber bank where billows roar
We parted there to meet no more

These cheeks of mine once blooming red
Lie cold and mingled with the dead
From rolling waves to bed of clay
No rest for me till judgement day

So pretty maid more cautious be
Remember how he slighted me
My ghost, my ghost and infant child
Will haunt him till he too dies cold