#03135
The Boatswain And The Tailor
(Greenleaf & Mansfield)
See also: The Old Bo's'n (Kenneth Peacock)
And also: Johnny's Gone To Sea (Max F Hunter)

'Twas of a jolly boatswain,
in London town did dwell,
He had a handsome wife,
and a tailor loved her well;
When the boatswain was gone to sea
(unknown text)
The frolic with the boatswain's wife
the tailor he did play.

With my diddle lol, de diddle lol, de dee.

The boatswain he came home
in the middle of the night,
Put the tailor in the hell of a fright;
"Hide me, O hide me!" the tailor he did cry,
"For it is your husband, tonight I have to die."

With my diddle lol, de diddle lol, de dee.

"There is an old chest
that is standing outside;
You may jump into that
and a-cunning you may lie."
O he drove on with his
breeches and his hose,
While she followed after
with the rest of his clothes.

With my diddle lol, de diddle lol, de dee.

She ran downstairs and she opened the door,
She saw her husband, and her husband saw her;
She caught him by the waist
and she gived to him a kiss,
He says, "My loving woman,
what do you mean by this?"

With my diddle lol, de diddle lol, de dee.

"I'm sorry, loving wife,
I've come for my chest,
I'm sorry loving woman,
to disturb you from your rest;
Our ship she weighs anchor all ready for to sail,
We're bounding away with a prospering gale."

With my diddle lol, de diddle lol, de dee.

And in walked the boatswain
and five more so strong,
They picked up the chest
and they carried it along;
They lugged it along
to the end of the town,
And the weight of the chest
caused the sweat to roll down.

With my diddle lol, de diddle lol, de dee.

Says one to the other,
"Let's lay him down to rest."
"O, no," says the other,
"For the devil's in the chest."
"O, no," cried the boatswain,
"You needn't for to fear,
For it is a scurvy tailor,
now I've got him here."

With my diddle lol, de diddle lol, de dee.

They took the poor tailor
and they put him in the nook,
No one to touch him in the longboat came up;
He opened the cover in the view of them all,
He's just like a hawk in the cobbler's stall.

With my diddle lol, de diddle lol, de dee.

"O, now, Mr Tailor, what brought you here?
O' now, Mr Tailor, you needn't for to fear;
For I will press on you and send you off to sea,
No longer you'll stay home a-cuckolding of me."

With my diddle lol, de diddle lol, de dee.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of the theme in the British broadside ballad, The Boatswain And The Chest [Laws Q8] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957) ....####
This variant collected in 1929 from Daniel Endicott [1875-1940] of Sally's Cove, NL, by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield as #53 in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland, (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1933; Folklore Associates, Hatboro, Pennsylvania, 1968).

Three variants were collected by Kenneth Peacock and published as The Old Bo's'n in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, pp.306-311, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A variant was also collected in 1959 as Johnny's Gone To Sea from Mrs Pearl Brewer of Pocahontas, Arkansas, by Max F Hunter, and archived at the Springfield-Greene County Library in Springfield, Missouri, Volume 9, Catalogue #0351.

As noted in the biography of Thomas Hardy [1840-1891]: "When he was not over four years of age, this was one of the songs that so moved him while his father played it, that he would dance on and on to conceal his weeping."



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