From the album The Best English Singalong Folksongs Volume 1
Another English heritage folksong, this time from Whitby in Yorkshire.
This is a tale of a sailor caught out by his own lust in what is called an ‘entrapment ballad’ that dates from about the late 1700s, early 1800s. It is probably very typical of the ‘scams’ that went on to relieve temporarily wealthy sailors of their money and belongings.
It might also be called an early feminist song assuming the maid actually reaped equal rewards to “father’s new boots and suit”.
In true traditional style it is a well-crafted song with a great story line, plenty of wit and cleverly rhymed. It also has a very engaging chorus.
It’s of a maid in Whitby Town / she was both fair and clever
She used-to-sit by her father’s door no matter what the weather
A sailor coming home from sea, pockets overflowing
Saw the maiden sitting there, quietly with her sewing
Won’t you come along with me, my bonny oh my honey
We’ll go down to Whitby Town and spend a little money
Father he would not agree / would be against his wishing
And with a twinkle in her eye she said that he’d gone fishing
Blow away you Northern winds, blow away so cruelly
Not so cruel as a pretty maid, for they’ll deceive you surely.
This couple’s gone to Whitby Town, soon they’re making merry
And at the tavern in the town, they spent a little money
Night came down the stars came out, the lady said my sailor,
Won’t you come back home with me, I feel I must repay you.
They went home and went upstairs, they turned down the covers
Come to bed my sailor boy, let’s you and I be lovers.
The sailor jumped out of his clothes, quicker than he oughter,
The door fell down and a man came in saying Who’s that with me daughter.
The sailor thru the window’s leapt and to his ship’s gone running
He’s left behind his clothes, his watch, the best part of his money
Father with the daughter’s gone down to the kitchen table
To share the sailor’s money out / as quick as they were able.
Father’s gone to buy new boots and a new suit from the tailor’s
The daughter to the door has gone to watch and wait for sailors