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Brewster: Ballads and Songs of Indiana 269
54 SWEET WILLIAM (THE SAILOR BOY)
Only one text, incomplete, of this song has been recovered in Indiana.
For other texts, American and British, see Belden, No. 20; Brown, p. 10; Campbell and Sharp, II, 84; Cox, p. 353; Greig, Folk-Song of the North-East, Ixiv; Journal, XXIX, 199; XXX, 363; XXXI, 170; XXXV, 410; XLV, 80; JFSS, I, 99; Journal of the Irish FolfcSong Society, XVII, 18; Pound, p. 42, 69; Scarborough, Song Catcher, p. 319; Stone, Sea Songs and Ballads, p. 174; Henry, Folk-Songs from the Southern Highlands, p. 188; Broad-wood and Maitland, English County Songs, p. 74; Henry, Songs Sung in the Southern Appalachians, p. 177; Creighton, Songs and Ballads from Nova Scotia, p. 89.
"The Sailor Boy." Contributed by Mrs. R. M. Johnson, of Franklin, Indiana. Johnson County. Learned from the singing of her mother, Mrs. Nancy Prichard Coleman. October 31,1935.
1. The sailor's trade is a dreary life;
It robs pretty maids of their hearts' delight, Which causes them to weep and mourn
For the loss of a truelove that never can return.1
2. Dark was the color of my truelove's hair;
His cheeks resemble the lady's fair. If he would return, it would give me joy, For I'll have no other but my sailor boy*
3. "0 Father, O Father, build me a boat,
That on the ocean I may float, And every vessel that I pass by
Of them I'll inquire of my sweet sailor boy.n
4. As she was sailing up the main,
She spied three ships coming down from Spain. She hailed the captain as he drew nigh;
Of him she did inquire for her sweet sailor boy.
5. "O Captain, O Captain, tell me true,
Does my sweet William sail with you? O tell me quick and give me joy
That I may find my sweet sailor boy/*
1 Tlie htat two line* of eaefe ataia* are to be xvprnafaeA as a refrain.