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The Lass That Loved a Sailor

[ Roud 954 ; Ballad Index EM075 ; trad.]

Elizabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield collected Thomas and Nancy in 1929 from Tom White at Sally’s Cove, Newfoundland. It is printed in their 19333 book Ballads and Sea-Songs of Newfoundland.

Finest Kind sang The Lass That Loved a Sailor on their 2010 album For Honour & for Gain. They noted:

Another of the songs (see Thomas and Nancy) gathered in Newfoundland during the late 1920s by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and music specialist Grace Yarrow Mansfield. Each woman played a vital collecting role in those days before tape recorders: as a singer sang, Greenleaf wrote down the words and Mansfield, the melody. Their superb collection, Ballads and Sea Songs of Newfoundland, was published in 1933 by Harvard University Press. It was a milestone, the first major folksong collection to include the tunes on the same pages as the words. Professor George Kittredge, a former student of Francis James Child, was in charge of the press and had objected to this departure from standard practice. He acquiesced when Greenleaf threatened to take the collection to Yale.


Finest Kind sing The Lass That Loved a Sailor

Once I loved a sailor so dear as my life,
And ofttimes he’ve told me he would make me his wife;
But now he is gone sick for some other one,
𝄆 Leaved me and my baby in sorrow to mourn. 𝄇

O, my parents chastised me, o, because I done so,
And now I am despised by all other ones I know;
My father and mother turned me from the door,
𝄆 So now I must ramble and beg like one poor. 𝄇

Once I was so red as the bud of fair rose,
But now I’m as pale as the lily do grow,
Like a flower in the morning, my beauty’s all gone.
𝄆 Don’t you see what I’m come to, by the loving of a man? 𝄇

So come all ye pretty fair maids, wheresoever ye be,
Don’t you trust to any young men by any degree.
They will kiss you and court you and swear they’ll prove true,
𝄆 And the very next moment they’ll bid you adieu. 𝄇