Claudy Banks is one of many, many closely related ballads that my dad likes to call “Dread Pirate Roberts ballads”, which only makes sense if you’ve seen The Princess Bride. And if you haven’t, stop reading this blog post and go watch it.
Because there are so many Dread Pirate Roberts ballads, and because they’re far enough apart to be called “closely related ballads” and not just “versions of the same ballad”, and because I was so struck with Finest Kind’s recording of Claudy Banks, I’m going to post just the one tonight instead of doing a parallel comparison.
‘Twas on one summer’s evening all in the month of May
Down by a flowery garden where Betsy she did stray
I overheard a young maid in sorrow to complain
All for her absent lover who plowed the raging main
I stepped up to this fair maid and I put her in surprise
I own she did not know me, I being all in disguise
Said I, “My charming creature, my joy and heart’s delight,
How far have you to travel this dark and rainy night?”
“Away, kind sir, to the Claudy banks, if you will please to show,
Pity a poor girl distracted, it’s there I have to go,
I am in search of a young man, and Johnny is his name,
And on the banks of Claudy I’m told he do remain.”
“If Johnny he was here this night, he would keep me from all harm,
He’s a-cruising the wide ocean in tempest and in storm,
He’s a-cruising the wide ocean for honour and for gain.”
“But I’m told his ship got wrecked all on the coast of Spain.”
When Betsy heard this dreadful news she fell into despair,
A-wringing of her hands and a-tearing of her hair.
“Since Johnny has gone and left me, no man on earth I’ll take,
Down in yon lonesome valley I’ll wander for his sake.”
Young Johnny hearing her say so, he could no longer stand
He fell into her arms crying, “Betsy, I’m the man!
I am that faithful young man, and whom you thought was slain,
And since we’ve met on Claudy banks we’ll never part again.”
It’s just so bouncy and cheery! *grin*