Banks of Yarrow

from by Phil Edwards

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It's of a brisk young sailor down by the banks of Yarrow
He's courted his lovely Annie till she proved with child-O

"O what shall we do my love? What will become of me?
My mother and father, they both will disown me."

"Go fetch me some of your father's gold and some of your mother's money
And you shall go aboard ship along with your Johnnie."

So she's fetched him some of her father's gold and some of her mother's money
And she's gone aboard ship along with her Johnnie.

But they had not been sailing scarce six leagues nor so many
Before she wanted women's help and could not get any.

"O hold your tongue you foolish girl, hold your tongue my honey
We cannot get women's help for love nor money."

And they had not been sailing scarce seven leagues, no further
Before she was delivered of a beautiful baby.

Now as they sailed on the ocean, the ship sailed so neatly
With her sails spread and a fair wind, but miles she made not any.

"The ship is accursed," the captain cried so boldly,
"The ship is accursed, she will not sail for me."

So they've cast the black bullets, they've cast them six and forty
And every time the bullets fell upon young Annie.

"Sea captain, sea captain, here's fifty pounds in bright money
To carry me home again, me and my baby."

"O no," cried the captain, "such things they never can be.
'Tis better to lose two lives than 'tis to lose many."

"Then tie the napkin round my head, tie it soft and gently
And throw me right overboard, me and my baby."

So they've tied the napkin round her head, they've tied it soft and gently
And they've thrown her right overboard, her and her baby.

"See how my love does tumble, see how her body quivers,
See how she tries to swim, it does make my heart shiver.

"My love shall have a coffin made with nails that shine gold and yellow
And the coffin shall be buried on the banks of Yarrow."


from 52 Folk Songs: Red, released July 21, 2012




Phil Edwards Manchester, UK

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