Jack the Sailor

(The Tarry Sailor)

It happen'd on an evening clear,
As down the quay I walked ,
I chanc'd to meet a maiden fair,
That with her father talked.
Said he, "Your love is come on shore,
The only man you do adore;
Your folly now you must give o'er,
Don't wed that tarry sailor!"

"Oh, father dear, do not us part,
Nor try to separate us;
For if you do 'twill break my heart,
Great grief it will create us!
His love to me is most secure,
And mine to him shall firm endure,
Betide me life or death, I'm sure,
I'll wed none but my sailor.

Up comes young Jack as brisk's a bee,
And says, "My dearest Nancy,
I am now safe return'd to thee,
My heart's delight and fancy.
I've been where stormy winds do blow,
And oft have fac'd the deadly foe;
Say, will you have me, yea or no,
And wed poor Jack the sailor?"

"Two hundred pounds left by your aunt,
Three hundred more I'll give you;
But if you marry without consent,
One farthing I'll not leave you.
Besides, to marry you're too young,
And sailors have a flattering tongue;
So from my presence quick begone,
If you wed that tarry sailor."

Says Jack, "I don't regard that sum;
My dear, I've gold in plenty.
Believe me, sir, I do not come
To court with pockets empty."
Five hundred guineas in bright gold
Upon the table down he told,
And swept them in her apron fold,
"Take that and Jack the sailor."

Her father seeing his honest heart,
And that he was so clever,
Said, "'Tis a pity you to part,
You shall be join'd for ever.
As you so freely give your store,
And you each other do adore,
Then take her, Jack, with as much more,
For you're a clever sailor.

"Now, messmates, we've got safe to port,
And I am happy married;
I hope, my lads, we'll have some sport,
And crown the day with claret.
My frigate's rigged neat and tight,
With silks and rings all gay and bright,
And I shall shew you all this night,
That I'm a happy sailor."

From Traditional Ballad Airs (Wm. Christie, 1876)