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The Mermaid (3) One night as I lay on my bed, I lay so fast asleep, When the thought of my true love came running to my head And poor sailors that sail on the deep. As I sailed out one day, one day, And being not far from land, And there I spied a mermaid a-sitting on a rock With a comb and a glass in her hand. The song she sang, she sang so sweet, But no answer at all could us make, Till at last our gallant ship she tooked round about Which made all our poor hearts to ache. Then up stepped the helmsman of our ship In his hand a lead and line; All for to sound the seas, my boys, that is so wide and deep But to hard rock or sand could he find. Then up stepped the captain of our ship And a well-speaking man is he, He says," I have a wife, my boys, in fair Plymouth town But this night a widow she will be." Then up stepped the bosun of our ship And a well-spoken man was he, He says, "I have two sons, my boys, in fair Bristol town And orphans I fear they will be. And then up stepped the little cabin boy And a pretty boy was he, He says, "Oh I grieve for my own mother dear Whom I shall nevermore see." "Last night, when the moon shined bright My mother had sons five, But now she may look in the salt, salt sea And find but one alive." Call a boat, call a boat, my fair Plymouth boys Don't you hear how the trumpets sound? For the want of a long-boat in the ocean we were lost And most of our merry men drowned. From Penguin Book of English Folk Songs (Williams and Lloyd) From singing of James Herridge, 1906 See also The Mermaid Child #289 RG
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!