Digital Tradition Mirror

Fair Betsy

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Pennywhistle notation and Dulcimer tab for this song is also available

Fair Betsy

Oh Betsy she's a beauty Fair
She lately come from Lincolnshire
A hired servant for to be
Which suited Betsy to a high degree

This lady had an only son
And Betsy's beauty his favor won
Oh Betsy's beauty it shone so clear
It drew his heart into a snare

It was one morning as you shall hear
He says to Betsy you are my dear
I love you dear as I love my life
And I do intend to make you my wife

His mother in a room close by
And hearing what her son did say
Resolved she was in her own mind
To put an end to their design.

Early the next morning she arose
And says to Betsy put on your clothes
Into the country you must go
To wait on me a day or two

So Betsy arose put on her clothes
And with her mistress away did go
A ship lay waiting just out of town
And to Virginia fair Betsy's bound

The old woman returning home
Welcome dear mistress said her son
And where is Betsy tell me pray
That she so long behind doth stay

Oh son oh son I plainly see
The love you have  for Betsy
But love no more for it is in vain
I have sent her sailing over the main

If Betsy's sailing over the main
May the heavens to my love prove kind
May the heavens to my love prove kind
That she some harbor soon may find

I'd rather see my son lie dead
Than he to Betsy should be wed
Then your desiring you quick shall see
So he pierced his sword through his body

When she saw her son lie dead
With grief and sorrow she hung her head
If my son should be restored again
I'd send for Betsy o'er the main

If Betsy sails upon the main
May the heavens to my love prove kind
She's tender hearted as a dove
She sighs she mourns she dies for love

From Songs the Whalemen Sang, Huntington
Collected from the Journal of the Cortes, 1847
Note: A switch on all the songs (Banks of Dundee etc.) where
     the nasty parents ship the young man out. RG
DT #434
Laws M20

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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