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The Rambling Beauty

[ Roud 563 ; Master title: The Rambling Beauty ; Laws P12 ; G/D 6:1213 ; Ballad Index LP12 ; VWML RoudFS/S159036 ; Bodleian Roud 563 ; trad.]

Danny Spooner sang The Rambling Beauty on his 1978 album Danny Spooner and Friends. He noted:

The English Folk Dance & Song Society has published four song from the Hammond & Gardiner collection, and it is from one of these, The Foggy Dew, that this rare little piece comes. [VWML RoudFS/S159036] . The tune is a type frequently met with in British folk song and combines both the Ionian and Mixolydian modes. The text appears to be of broadside origin but seems to have been better preseved in North America than in England.

Hamish Henderson sang The Rambling Beauty on the 2006 Kyloe album of songs and ballads from the School of Scottish Studies Archives, Hamish Henderson Collects Volume 2.

Steve Turner sang The Rambling Beauty, accompanied by Martin Carthy on guitar, on his 2008 Tradition Bearers album The Whirligig of Time. He noted:

Another fine moralistic Scots ballad on the subject of destiny. The tune is from Aberdeenshire.


Danny Spooner sings The Rambling Beauty

Oh once I courted a fair young woman,
I courted her to be my own;
But she proved cruel unto her jewel,
The truth to you it shall be known.

A chain of gold I gave unto her,
Likewise a pretty wedding ring;
The chain of gold she did accept it,
But would not after wedding ring.

The chain of gold she hung around her neck
And ev’ry morning were in my view;
She said, “Begone, you tarry sailor,
For I can get better lads than you.”

I went unto her own dear mother,
A-thinking she would prove my friend.
But she proved cruel just like her daughter
And for the officer did send.

She cried, “You dog, you have ruined my daughter,
So surely punished you shall be!”
Six months and more on bread and water
In prison strong they confinded me.

My sentence past, I went to London city,
And my false love I chanced to meet;
I saw her down in some door a-begging,
And I myself now in high estate.

And when I spoke to this pretty woman,
She on her bended knees did fall,
Saying, “Kind sir, I ask your pardon,
My cruel mother was my downfall.”

I put my hand into my pocket,
And I pulled out one half-a-crown.
She says, “Kind sir, that is better to me
Than unto you five-hundred pound.”

Now with their tears this couple parted
And she lies now in Bedlam strong,
Confessing she is well rewarded
For doing this poor sailor wrong.

Steve Turner sings The Rambling Beauty

All you that love any rambling beauty,
I pray you by me a warning take.
I loved one more than was my duty
That made me suffer for her sake.
There was a farmer’s daughter Nancy,
And she was dressed in silk so fine,
For her I had the greatest fancy
I ever had for womankind.

On day I went to this rambling beauty
And offered me a wedding ring.
So scornfully she did refuse it—
From me she would have no such thing.
“Begone,” said she, “you prating fellow!
How dare you come to trouble me!
Go wear a bunch of the cold green willow;
A wife for you I will never be.”

Then she was wed to a handsome young man,
The greatest rover in all the town.
But soon he began to disregard her
And let her many’s the day alone.
Then after years I returned from foreign lands
And chanced this beauty to meet one day.
She seemed to be in a mean condition,
Where I was blessed in a thriving way.

I put my hand all in my pocket,
And gave her guineas two and three.
And said, “Take this from a former lover—
You surely must remember me.”
This set her sorrowful heart a-bleeding
But all of her sorrows were now too late.
She said, “Let all maids wherever dwelling
From me a sad, sad warning take:

“Come all of you fair maids in every station.
A warning take by me I pray:
There’s many a dark and cloudy morning
Turns out to be a sunny day.
All of you fair maids wherever dwelling,
Be constant aye to a lover kind.
For blessed and happy is every maiden
That to her lover has a constant mind.”