The Drowned Lover
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


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This ballad was popular in the West of England. It was originally known as Captain Digby's Farewell. It is also known as Scarboro (or Scarborough) Sand and The Drowned Sailor. Digby's Farewell was a playhouse song which appeared in 1671.* It later became associated with the death of the Earl of Sandwich who died in 1672 after action in Solebay during the Third Anglo-Dutch War. (Stoke being a corruption of Sole). As I was a walking down in Stokes Bay
I met a drowned sailor on the beach as he lay
And as I drew nigh him, it put me to a stand.,
When I knew it was my own true Love
By the marks on his hand.

As he was a sailing from his own dear shore
Where the waves and the billows so loudly do roar,
I said to my true Love, I shall see you no more
So farewell, my dearest, you're the lad I adore.

She put her arms around him, saying O! My dear!
She wept and she kiss'd him ten thousand times o'er.
O I am contented to lie by thy side.
And in a few moments, this lover she died.

And all in the churchyard these two were laid,
Anda stone for remembrance was laid on her grave,
My joys are all ended, my pleasures are fled,
This grave that I lie in is my new married bed.
Related Links
From One Hundred English Folksongs
See Bibliography for full information.
*And Bruce Olsen's Roots of Folk Website