Digital Tradition Mirror

The Lass of Swansea Town

The Lass of Swansea Town

It was down by Swansea barracks one May morning I strayed
A-viewing of the soldier lads I spied a comely maid,
It was o'er her red and rosy cheeks the tears did dingle down,
I thought she was some goddess fair, the lass of Swansea town.

I said, "Fair maid, what brought you here, what brought you here to mourn?"
"Oh I'm in search of Willie dear, my bonny young sailor boy,
Eight years ago he left me here for Bermuda he was bound,
He said he would prove faithful to the lass of Swansea town."

"If eight years ago he left you here it is useless for to mourn,
For perhaps he is in some battle slain, or in the ocean drowned."
"Oh God forbid, young man," she said, the lass of Swansea town.
"And by what token will your Willie be known if he ever do return?"

"On his left breast he wears a scar where he received a wound
While fighting for his country and the lass of Swansea town."
"If by that token your Willie is known it's him I know right well,
While fighting in the battle by a cannon-ball he fell,

The cannon-ball which made him fall gave him his deathly wound,
He told me to take care of you the lass of Swansea town."

Soon as she heard him say these words she fell in deep despair,
Wringing of her lily-white hands and tearing of her hair,
Saying, "Take me to my Willie, my Willie dear, else give me my death wound,
For no other man will ever enjoy the lass of Swansea town."

On coming to herself once more up from the ground she rose,
His waistcoat it blew open and the scar it did expose.
They walked till they reached his cottage and there they settled down,
Young Willie of the royal blue and the lass of Swansea town.

From the singing of the Kenny Family from Kitchuses, NFLD
Also transcribed by Ken Peacock from the singing of Harry Curtis
     of Joe Batt's Arm, NFLD, July, 1952
note: Harry Curtis once worked on a cargo vessel, and during a stop-over in
  Wales he learned The Lass of Swansea Town. As a matter of fact, he is of
  Welsh descent himself. His father shipped as a cabin boy from Wales at the
  age of thirteen or fourteen and jumped ship in Newfoundland.
Published in Songs of the Newfoundland Outports by the National Museum of
     Canada 1965, Crown Copyrights reserved

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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