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The Broken Token

O a pretty fair maid walking in her garden,
When a handsome sailor came walking by,
And as he viewed her he stepped up to her
Saying, ‘Fair you’ maid would you fancy !?’

‘To fancy you sir, it would not do, sir,
For I have a true lover of my own,
And he’s but a true and a faithful sailor
And seven long years now since he’s been gone.

But seven long years make no alteration
Another seven I’ll wait for him,
And if he is wed, sure I wish him happy
And if he’s dead, sure I wish him rest.’

He said, ‘Do you see that big castell up yonder?
And do you see all those lilies white?
I will but give you its gold and silver
If you will be my true love tonight!’

She said, ‘What do I care for your castell up yonder,
What do I care for your lilies white;
What do I care for your gold and silver
If my own true lover was here tonight!’

He put his hand all into his pocket,
His fingers were so genteel and small;
He brought out a ring that was broke between them
And when she saw it she fell down did fall.

He picked her up all into his arms
Then he gave her kisses one and two,
Sayin, ‘I am your true and your faithful sailor
And I’ve come home, dear, to marry you!’

Footnote:  This song appears in many variations, in some the missing lover is a soldier and in others, such as this version, a sailor. It is a theme of many traditional songs, This us the version recorded by well-known traveller and story-teller Duncan Williamson whose book ‘The Horsieman – Memories of a Traveller 1928-58’ is a wonderful recollection of a travelling way of life which is now gone.



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