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Faithless Sally Brown (1828)
An Old Ballad (composed by Thomas Hood)

Young Ben he was a nice young man,
A carpenter by trade ;
And he fell in love with Saliy Brown,
That was a lady's maid.

But as they fetch'd a walk one day,
They met a press-gang crew;
And Sally she did faint away,
Whilst Ben he was brought to.

The boatswain swore with wicked words
Enough to shock a saint,
That though she did seem in a fit,
'Twas nothing but a faint.

Come, girl, said he, hold up 'your head,
He'll be as good as me ;
For when your swain is in our boat,
A boatswain he will be.

so when they'd made their game of her,
And taken off her elf,
She roused and found she only was
A coming to herself.

"And is he gone, And is he gone?
She cried, and wept outright ;
Then I will to the waterside,
And see him out of sight.

A waterman came up to her,--
Now, young woman, said he,
If you weep on so, you will make
Eye-water in the sea."

"Alas, they have taken my beau, Ben,
To sail with old Benbow;"
And her woe began to flow afresh,
As if she had said Gee woe !

Says he, they've only taken him
To the tender ship, you see,--
The tender ship, cried Sally Brown
What a hard ship that must be !

"Oh! would I were a mermaid now,
For then I'd follow him ;
But, Oh! I'm not a fish-woman,
And so I cannot swim.

"Alas ! I was not born beneath
The virgin and the scales
So I must curse my cruel stars,
And walk about in Wales.

Now Ben had sailed to many a place
That's underneath the world ;
But in two years the ship came home,
And all the sails were foiled.

But when he call'd on Sally Brown,
To see how she went on,
He found she'd got another Ben,
Whose Christian-name was John.

Oh, Sally Brown, oh', Sally Brown,
How could you serve me so,
I've met with many a breeze before
But never such a blow !"

Then reading on his 'bacco box,
He heaved a heavy sigh,
And then began to eye his pipe,
And then to pipe his eye.

And then he tried to sing "All's Well,
But could, not though he tried,
His head was turn'd, and so he chew'd
His pigtail till he died.

His death, which happen'd in his birth,
As forty-odd befell,
They went and told the sexton, and
The sexton toll'd the bell.


From the Sydney newspaper the Australian 23 Apr 1828 p. 4.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory