“The Sandgate Lass's Lament”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1900 (Stokoe/Reay)
Keywords: marriage abuse lament work
Found in: Britain(England(North))

Description

"I was a young maiden truly, And liv'd in Sandgate Street; I thought to marry a good man... But last I married a keelman, And my good days are done." The girl lists all the men she thought of marrying, and then contrasts her ill-formed, evil keelman

Supplemental text

Sandgate Lass's Lament, The
  Complete text(s)

          *** A ***

From Stokoe/Reay, Songs and Ballads of Northern England, pp. 162-163.

I was a young maiden truly,
  And liv'd in Sandgate Street;
I thought to marry a good man,
  To keep me warm and heat;
Some good-like body, some bonny body,
  To be with me at noon;
But last (alas?) I married a keelman,
  And my good days are done.

I thought to marry a parson,
  To hear me say my prayers;
But I have married a keelman,
  And he kicks me down the stairs.
He's an ugly body, a bubbly body,
  An ill-faured ugly loon;
And I have married a keelman,
  And my good days are done.

I thought to marry a dyer,
  To dye my apron blue;
But I have married a keelman,
  And he makes me sairly rue.
       He's an ugly body, etc.

I thought to marry a joiner,
  To make me chair and stool;
But I have married a keelman,
  And he's a perfect fool.
       He's an ugly body, etc.

I thought to marry a sailor,
  To bring me sugar and tea;
But I have married a keelman,
  And that he lets me see.
       He's an ugly body, etc.

Notes

A keelman is not one who is involved in shipbuilding but, I believe, one who keels cloth -- marks it for cutting. It is interesting to note that "to keel" also has been used to mean "to mark down as worthy of contempt." So this may be a pun, or it might be simply that the singer has a truly low opinion of her husband. - RBW

References

  1. Stokoe/Reay, pp. 162-163, "The Sandgate Lass's Lament" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. ST StoR162 (Full)
  3. Roud #3170
  4. BI, StoR162