My Jolly Sailor Bold

Facebook Twitter Email

A few years ago, when Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides came out, I was pretty excited about the movie so I went off to watch it in 3D. there was I was, sitting in the movie house and getting annoyed with the stupid 3D glasses that REALLY annoy the bridge of my nose, and was starting to lose interest in the flick (except, naturally, for any scene with Johnny Depp). We were about halfway through the movie when I started to get ratty and edgy, and then, from the bottom of the screen, I saw a wisp of something. Then a tail. Then a full on mermaid. I was so excited I nearly lept out of my chair, because I really hadn’t seen it coming (having not watched the ad or read the movie blurb). I was thrilled. There emerged several spectacularly beautiful mermaids, and one of them started to sing. I was so mesmerised, even my brother-in-law’s jokes didn’t reach my exalted ears.


While writing my book Serenade, I was always scouring the internet for musical inspiration (using search terms like siren’s song and mermaid music). Then I came across this, having forgotten about it before, and it proved to be the best kind of inspiration for my story. So I thought I’d share it. Enjoy!


Upon one summer’s morning, I carelessly did stray,

Down by the Walls of Wapping, where I met a sailor gay,

Conversing with a bouncing lass, who seem’d to be in pain,

Saying, William, when you go, I fear you will ne’er return again.

His hair it does in ringlets hang, his eyes as black as sloes,

May happiness attend him wherever he goes,

From Tower Hill, down to Blackwall, I will wander, weep and moan,

All for my jolly sailor bold, until he does return.

My father is a merchant—the truth I now will tell,

And in great London City in opulence doth dwell,

His fortune doth exceed ₤300,000 in gold,

And he frowns upon his daughter, ’cause she loves a sailor bold.

A fig for his riches, his merchandize, and gold,

True love is grafted in my heart; give me my sailor bold:

Should he return in poverty, from o’er the ocean far,

To my tender bosom, I’ll fondly press my jolly tar.

My sailor is as smiling as the pleasant month of May,

And oft we have wandered through Ratcliffe Highway,

Where many a pretty blooming girl we happy did behold,

Reclining on the bosom of her jolly sailor bold.

Come all you pretty fair maids, whoever you may be

Who love a jolly sailor bold that ploughs the raging sea,

While up aloft, in storm or gale, from me his absence mourn,

And firmly pray, arrive the day, he home will safe return.

My name it is Maria, a merchant’s daughter fair,

And I have left my parents and three thousand pounds a year,

My heart is pierced by Cupid, I disdain all glittering gold,

There is nothing can console me but my jolly sailor bold.

Facebook Twitter Email