Braw Sailing On The Sea

03:28
Frank Blair
Traditional arr. Frank Blair

Story

From the CD "Cathedral of Memory."

 

I learned this song from the singing of one of my earliest and strongest influences, Tony Cuffe.  It's always been one of my favorites and I tried a few times to integrate into repertoire's of various bands with varying degrees of success.  It tells the story of a young sailor who visits his sweetheart when he finds that his ship is to set sail.  He wants something of a stronger commitment before he leaves but she tells him she's changed her mind and turns him away, giving him back his promise ring.

 

There's a good version, very similar to this one, in John Ord's "Bothy Songs and Ballads" and a reference to another, somewhat older version in the manuscripts of William Motherwell (1797-1835.)  This version most likely dates from the 1810s to 1840s.  I never could come to a DADGAD arrangement that I liked so this is in standard.

Lyrics

There cam a letter yestreen 
Oor ship maun sail i' the morn 
'Alas', cried the bonnie lad 
That ever I was born 

And it's braw sailin on the sea 
When wind and weather's fair 
It's better be'en in my love's airms 
O gin that I were there 

He's gane untae her faither's hoose
At twelve o'clock at noon 
This lassie being proud-hearted 
She would not let him in 

And it's braw sailin on the sea 
When wind and weather's fair 
It's better be'en in my love's airms 
O gin that I were there 

He's taen a ring frae his pocket 
It cost him guineas three 
Sayin, 'Tak ye that my bonnie lass 
And aye think weel o' me' 

But she's taen a ring from her pocket 
It cost him shillings nine 
Sayin, 'Tak ye that my bonnie lad 
For I hae changed my mind' 

 

Oh it's better drinkin Glasgow beer
It's better drinkin wine
It's better be'en in my love's airms

Where I've spent monie night's time

 

And it's braw sailin on the sea

When wind and weather's fair 

It's better be'en in my love's airms 
O gin that I were there

 

It's better be'en in my love's airms
And oh gin I were there 

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