1. 'Twas on a summer's evening all in the month of May
Down in a flowery garden where Betsy she did stray
I overheard this fair maid in sorrow to complain
All for her absent lover who ploughed the raging main.
2. I stepped up to this fair maid and put her in surprise
I own she did not know me, I being all in disguise
Said I, "Me charming creature, me joy and heart's delight
How far have you to travel this dark and rainy night?"
3. "Away kind sir to the Claudy Banks if you will please to show
Pity a poor girl distracted, it's there I have to go,
I'm a-looking for a young man and Johnny is his name
And I'm told it's there on Claudy Banks today he do remain."
4. "If my Johnny he were here this night he'd keep me from all harm
But he's cruising the wide ocean, in tempest and in storm,
He's a-cruising the wide ocean for honour and for gain."
"But I'm told his ship got wrecked all on the coast of Spain."
5. When Betsy heard this dreadful news, she fell into despair,
A-wringing of her hands and a-tearing of her hair.
"Since my Johnny's gone and left me, no man on earth I'll take
But it's all me life on Claudy Banks I'll wander for his sake."
6. Now Johnny hearing her say so, he could no longer stand,
He fell into her arms, crying, "Betsy, I'm the man!
I am that faithful young man and whom you thought was slain
And since we've met on Claudy Banks we'll never part again."
rec. by the Young Tradition