“Ambletown”

Alternate titles: “Home, Dearie, Home”; “Oak and the Ash, The”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1948 (Shay)
Keywords: children family sailor separation home

Description

A sailor receives a letter, telling him that his child has been born. He reports that it's "home I want to be" (to see the child and learn its gender), and intends to take ship there at the first opportunity

Supplemental text

Ambletown
  Complete text(s)

          *** A ***

O Falmouth Is a Fine Town
by William E[rnest] Henley

Text supplied by Don Duncan. Reportedly written 1878 and
published in Henley's "Book of Verses," 1888. It was noted
that "the burthen and the third stanza are old."

O Falmouth is a fine town with ships in the bay,
And I wish from my heart it's there I was to-day;
I wish from my heart I was far away from here,
Sitting in my parlor and talking to my dear.
   For it's home, dearie home--it's home I want to be.
   Our topsails are hoisted, and we'll away to sea.
   O the oak and the ash and the bonnie birken tree,
   They're all growing green in the old countrie.

In Baltimore a-walking a lady I did meet
With her babe on her arm as she came down the street;
And I thought how I sailed, and the cradle standing ready
For the pretty little babe that has never seen its daddie.
   And it's home, dearie, home,--

O, if it be a lass, she shall wear a golden ring;
And if it be a lad, he shall fight for his king;
With his dirk and his hat and his little jacket blue
He shall walk the quarter-deck as his daddie used to do.
   And it's home, dearie, home--

O, there's a wind a-blowing, a-blowing from the west,
And that of all the winds is the one I like the best,
For it blows at our backs, and it shakes our pennon free,
And it soon will blow us home to the old countrie.
   For it's home, dearie, home--it's home I want to be.
   Our topsails are hoisted, and we'll away to sea.
   O, the oak and the ash and the bonnie birken tree,
   They're all growing green in the old countrie.

Notes

For the complex relationship between this song, "A North Country Maid," and "Rosemary Lane" [Laws K43], see the notes to the latter song. - RBW

I put [the Silber text] in with Ambletown rather than Rosemary Lane because the only narrative verses describe the sailor's longing to be "sitting in my parlor and talking to my dear" and thinking of the "pretty little babe that has never seen its daddy." No explicit seduction -- which places it in the Ambletown ambit, so to speak. - PJS

Cross references

Broadsides

Recordings

References

  1. Hugill, p. 499, "Home, Dearie, Home" (1 text, 1 tune, in which the sailor's wife, rather than sending a letter, comes to him in a dream) [AbrEd, pp. 366]
  2. Shay-SeaSongs, pp. 144-145, "Home, Dearie, Home" (1 text plus a stanza of Henley's adaption and an alternate chorus, plus a text of "Bell-Bottom Trousers," 1 tune)
  3. Silber-FSWB, p. 91, "Home, Boys, Home" (1 text)
  4. DT 319, AMBLTOWN
  5. ST LK43A (Full)
  6. Roud #269
  7. BI, LK43A