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There is no shortage of versions and modern recordings of this revenge song, most of them upbeat. I collated this one from the version in My Song Is My Own and others, sung by the Voice Squad, and Joseph Taylor on "Voice of the People". It was important to me to include the final verse, where the captain admires her bold and aggressive action and makes her commander (out of respect or fear?).


I’ll sing you a song about two young lovers,
‘Twas from Lindsfield town they came.
The young man's name was William Taylor,
The young woman’s name was Sarah Jane.

Oh, William Taylor’s a nice young sailor;
He went courting a lady gay.
And just as they were going to be married,
Pretty William sailed away, oh,
Pretty William sailed away.

She’s dressed herself in sailor’s clothing,
Sailor’s clothing she did put on;
She’s gone to seek her own true lover,
For to find him she has gone.

On the ship there was a battle,
She fought there with all the rest;
Her jacket burst her silver buttons,
There appeared her snow white breast, oh,
There appeared her snow white breast.

Then the captain he stepped up to her,
Asked her what had brought her here.
“I’ve come to seek my own dear lover,
Who was pressed the other year.”

“If you’ve come to seek your lover,
Pray tell to me what is his name.”
“His name it is bold William Taylor,
And from Lindsfield town he came, oh,
And from Lindsfield town he came.”

“If his name be William Taylor,
William Taylor he is not here;
He’s lately married a rich young lady,
Worth ten thousand pounds a year.

But rise you early in the morning,
Early at the break of day;
There you’ll find bold William Taylor,
Walking with his lady gay, oh,
Walking with his lady gay.”

Then she called for a sword and pistol,
A sword and pistol she did command;
She bide and shot bold William Taylor,
With his bride at his right hand.

Then our captain was well-pleased;
He was quite pleased with what she had done.
Soon she became a bold commander,
Over the captain and his men, oh,
Over the captain and his men.


from The Fairest Flower of Womankind, released April 28, 2017
Vocals: Lindsay Straw
Accordion: Daniel Accardi



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Lindsay Straw Boston, Massachusetts

Boston-based traditional folk singer, guitarist & bouzouki player.

"Hearken(s) back to more innocent times, of Greenwich Village and pure folk." - The Living Tradition

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