Digital Tradition Mirror

Broken Token (2)

Broken Token (2)

As I walked out one bright May moning
A fair young lady I chanced to see
I asked her if she had a sweetheart
And this reply she gave to me

"It's seven long years since I had a sweetheart
It's seven long years since I did him see
And seven more I will wiat upon him
Till he returns for to marry me"

"I don't know how you can love a sailor
I don't know how you can love a slave
Perhaps he's married or else he's buried
Or lying in his cold watery grave"

"Well, if he's married, I wish him happy
And if he's buried I wish him rest
But for his sake I will never marry
For he's the young man that I love best"

He put his hand into his pocket
His fingers being so long and thin
Pulled out a ring that was bent and broken
And when she's seen it then she fell

He lifted her into his arms
He gave her kisses three by three
Sayin' "Who am I but your only sailor boy
Just returned for to marry you"

recorded by Cyril Tawney on "Voices. Traditional English Songs" (1991)

"Broken Token Ballads abound in the English tradition. The general idea
is that the lovers divide a 'token' (usually a ring) when they part
(he usually goes off to foreign parts as a soldier or sailor) and agree
to be faithful. He later returns, but she does not recognise him at first,
etc. etc. Cyril learnt this version in his native West Country from his
mother and this goes to show how difficult it is to regionalise folk
songs because she learnt it from her Grandmother, Mary Sharkey, in
Northern Ireland!" - Paul Adams


Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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