1. The Dark-Eyed Sailor by Brian Buller

From the album The Riverbank Faerie

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Words & Music- Traditional
Arranged by Brian Buller & Ryan Eston Paul

As I roved out one evening fair
It being Summer to take the air
I spied a sailor and lady gay
And I stood to listen, and I stood to listen
To hear what they might say

He said, “Fair lady why do you roam?
The day is spent and night is on.”
She heaved a sigh as tears did flow
“For me dark eyed sailor, for me dark eyed sailor,
So young and stout and bold.”

“‘Tis seven long years since he’s left this land
A ring he took of his lily-white hand
One half the ring is still here with me
But the other is rolling, but the other is rolling
At the bottom of the sea.”

He said, “Can’t you drive him right out of your mind?
Another young man you surely can find
Love turns aside and cold does grow
Like a Winter’s morning, like a Winter’s morning
When the hills are white with snow.”

She said, “I will never forsake my dear
Although we’ve parted this many a year
Gentile he was and no villain like you
To induce a maiden, to induce a maiden
To slight the jacket of blue.”

Then half of the ring did young William show,
She ran distracted in grief and woe
Saying, “William, oh William, I have gold in store
For me dark-eyed sailor, for me dark-eyed sailor
Who’s proved his overthrow.”

Now there is a cottage by yonder lee,
This couple is married and does agree
So maids be loyal when your love is away
For a cloudy morning, for a cloudy morning
Brings in a sunny day.

Commentary by BB:
Here, as a token ring ritual is being played out,
we have a story of desperate longing
and bitter doubts resolved through a reunion of the
true-hearted. My path for learning this song came
through Kate Rusby and Kathryn Robert’s 1995
collaborative album; I find their rendition of
The Dark Eyed Sailor to be satisfyingly soul-piercing.