The Drowned Lovers

Bob Lewis: On Autumn Harvest ah09: Bob Lewis - Drive Sorrows Away and also on ah08: Old Songs & Bothy Ballads: There's Bound to be a Row. Recorded at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival May 2009.

The narrator overhears a maid lamenting for her lover lost at sea and proposes marriage. Turning down the offer, she throws herself into the ocean. The song is well known among traditional singers of rural Sussex and has been widely collected in southern England and North America (Roud 466, Laws K17). Bob was given the song by his friend and fellow Sussex singer Bob Copper.

As I walk├Ęd out down by the sea shore,
Where the wind and the waves and the billows did roar;
There I heard a strange voice make a terrible sound,
Was the wind and the waves and the echoes all round.
Crying, "Oh, oh my love has gone he's the youth I adore,
He's gone and I never shall see him no more."

She'd a voice like a nightingale, skin like a dove,
And the song that she sang it was all about love;
I asked her to marry me, "Marry me please."
The answer she gave, "My love's drowned in the sea."

I told her I'd gold and I'd silver besides,
In a coach and six horses with me she would ride.
"No I never will marry, nor yet make a wife,
Constant and true hearted all the days of my life."

She threw out her arms and she made a great leap,
From the cliffs that were high to the billows so deep;
Crying, "The rocks of the ocean shall make me a bed,
And the shrimps of the sea shall swim over my head."

And now every night at six bells they appear,
When the moon it is shining, the sky it is clear;
Those two constant lovyers with all their young charms,
Rolling over and over in each other's arms.
Crying, "Oh, oh my love has gone he's the youth I adore,
He's gone and I never shall see him no more."

c p 2010 Autumn Harvest : www.springthyme.co.uk