Wednesday, May 1, 2013
There are many. Here is one of my favorites: "Claudy Banks"
The Banks of Claudy (Roud 266)
‘Twas on a fine summer morning, all in the month of May,
Down by a flowery garden where Betsy she did stray.
I overheard a female in sorrow to complain,
‘Twas all for her true lover who ploughed the raging main.
I went up to this fair maid and took her by surprise.
I owned she did not know me for I was in disguise.
I said ‘my pretty fair maid, my joy and heart’s delight,
How far have you to travel this dark and dreary night?’
‘Kind sir the way to Claudy Banks, if you would please to show,
And pity a maid in distraction, for I’ve so far to go.
I am in search of a young man and Johnny is his name,
And it’s on the Banks of Claudy I’m told he does remain.’
‘This is the Banks of Claudy, the very place you stand,
But don’t depend on Johnny, for he’s a false young man.
Oh don’t depend on Johnny, for he’ll not meet you here,
But come with me to yon green woods no danger need you fear.’
‘And it’s six long months I’m bitter, since Johnny left the shore.
He’s crossing the wild ocean where foaming billows roar.
He’s crossing the wild ocean for honour and for gain.
And I am told the ship was wrecked all on the coast of Spain.’
And when she heard those dreadful news, she fell in deep despair,
With a wringing of her hands and a tearing of her hair.
‘Since Johnny he has left me, no other man I’ll take,
But through lonesome glens and valleys, I’ll wander for his sake.’
Then when he heard her loyalty, he could no longer stand.
He took her in his arms, saying ‘Betsy I’m the man.
I am this faithless young man, the cause of all your pain,
But since we met on Claudy Banks, we’ll never part again.’
I'm looking on YouTube for the version I like - apparently these lyrics have been put to many musical settings. When I find it, I'll post the link.