Ballads & Songs of Southern Michigan-songbook

A Collection of 200+ traditional songs & variations with commentaries including Lyrics & Sheet music

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2i6          Ballads and Songs of Michigan
(Captain Ward and the Rainbow, Child, No. 287)
This text is a hybrid harking back, according to Child (V, 143-145), to an early seventeenth-century English broadside concerning a bold pirate of the period. Barry, Eckstorm, and Smyth, pp. 347-363, print five versions, with a scholarly discussion and references. For additional references and texts see Flanders and Brown, pp. 242-044; Kittredge, JAFL, XXX, 332; and Shoemaker, pp. 300-301.
The present version was sung in 1916 by Mrs. Emehne Jenks Crampton, St. Clair; she had acquired the song from hearing it sung by her English husband, who had learned it from his father.
1    Come all ye jolly sailors bold Who live by fife or drum, I'll tell you of a rank robber Who now on the sea is come.
2   His name, they say, is Captain Ward, As you the truth shall hear.
There never was such a robber This hundred and fifty year.
3   The king sent out a gallant ship, The Rainbow was her name,
To scour the seas for Captain Ward And bring to him the same.
4   He sailed east, he sailed west, But nothing could he spy, Until he came to the very spot Where Captain Ward did die.
5   They fought from eight o'clock in the morning Till eight o'clock at night;
At length the gallant Rainbow Began to take her flight.
6   "Go home, go home," said Captain Ward, "And tell your king from me,
If he reigns king upon the land, I'll reign king upon the sea."

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