The Saucy Sailor

The Canadian “roots” trio The Wailin’ Jennys have included this English folksong on their latest recording 40 Days. According to notes collected on Mainly Norfolk , the song was recording Cecil Sharp’s collection Folksongs of Somerset having learned it off a Mr. Thomas Henry of Ilminster. It’s also found George Butterworth’s addition to the 1907 edition of the Journal of the Folk Song Society, which is where the band Steeleye Span learned it, and their version is likely the source for the Jennys’ interpretation.

The Saucy Sailor

Come my own one, come my fair one
Come now unto me
Could you fancy a poor sailor lad
Who has just come from sea?

You are ragged love, you are dirty love
And your clothes smell much of tar
So be gone you saucy sailor lad
So be gone, you Jack Tar

If I am ragged love and I am dirty love
And my clothes smell much of tar
I have silver in my pocket love
And gold in great store

And then when she heard him say so
On her bended knees she fell
I will marry my dear Henry
For I love a sailor lad so well

Do you think that I am foolish love?
Do you think that I am mad?
For to wed with a poor country girl
Where no fortune’s to be had

I will cross the briny ocean
I will whistle and sing
And since you have refused the offer love
Some other girl shall wear the ring

I am frolicsome, I am easy
Good tempered and free
And I don’t give a single pin my boys
What the world thinks of me


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