The Dark Eyed Sailor (Ralph Vaughan Williams)

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Editor: David Anderson (submitted 2023-12-05).   Score information: Letter, 8 pages, 370 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes:
  • (Posted 2023-05-07)  CPDL #73729:         
Editor: Maia McCormick (submitted 2023-05-07).   Score information: Letter, 3 pages, 167 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Rehearsal marks, some editorial dynamics/breaths/etc.
  • (Posted 2019-11-20)  CPDL #56000:     
Editor: Bradley Parese (submitted 2019-11-20).   Score information: Letter, 7 pages, 138 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: The Dark Eyed Sailor
Composer: Ralph Vaughan Williams
Lyricist: Traditional

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularPartsongFolksong

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1913 Stainer & Bell
Description: Five English Folk Songs, No. 1

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

It was a comely young lady fair,
Was walking out for to take the air;
She met a sailor all on her way,
So I paid attention to what they did say.

Said William, "Lady, why walk alone?
The night is coming and the day near gone."
She said, while tears from her eyes did fall,
"It's a dark-eyed sailor that's proving my downfall.

"It's two long years since he left the land;
He took a gold ring from off my hand,
We broke the token, here's part with me,
And the other lies rolling at the bottom of the sea."

Then half the ring did young William show,
She was distracted midst joy and woe.
"O welcome, William, I've lands and gold
For my dark-eyed sailor so manly, true and bold."

Then in a village down by the sea,
They joined in wedlock and well agree.
So maids be true while your love's away,
For a cloudy morning brings forth a shining day.