Our Captain Calls

Emily Portman, Tyneside: On Autumn Harvest ah011.
Old Songs & Bothy Ballads 8: The Little Ball of Yarn
Live from the Fife Traditional Singing Festival May 2011.

This song is found in various forms, often with variations on this distinctive melody which was noted down by Vaughan Williams and slightly adapted to John Bunyan's words from Pilgrim's Progress to form the hymn He Who Would Valiant Be / To Be a Pilgrim. With a different opening verse, the song aften comes with the title A Blacksmith Courted Me - often with a longer text. Emily's version is essentially from George “Pop” Maynard who was recorded by Mervyn Plunkett singing the song in The Cherry Tree, Copthorne, Sussex, in September 1956, later included in 1998 on the Topic anthology Come Let Us Buy the Licence (The Voice of the People Volume 1). Roud 602

1: Our captain calls all hands tomorrow,
To leave my true love behind in grief and sorrow;
"Dry up those briny tears and leave off weeping,
How happy we shall be love at our next meeting."

2: “How can you go abroad fighting for strangers?
Why don't you stay at home free from all dangers?
I'll roll you in my arms, my own dearest jewel,
So stay at home with me, love, and don't be cruel.”

3: “When I had gold in store, you used to invite me,
But now I'm low and poor you seem to slight me;
You courted me a while just for to deceive me,
But now my heart you've won you're going to leave me.”

4: “Here's adieu to all my friends, both father and mother,
Grieve not for me at all for you have no other;
Grieve not, grieve not for me for I am a-going,
Into everlasting joy where fountains flowing.”

c p 2012 Autumn Harvest : www.springthyme.co.uk