Arthur Lloyd's 'Married To A Mermaid'
song first appeared in 1740 in The Masque of Alfred by James Thomson
(1700-1748) and David Mallet. There is debate over which of them actually
wrote it. In 1751 Mallett altered the words, omitting three of the original
six stanzas and adding three others, written by Lord Bolingbroke. It
became extremely popular when Mallet produced his Masque of Britannia
at Drury Lane Theatre in 1755. Dr. Thomas
Arne wrote the tune.
David Mallet was born in Creiff, Perthshire, Scotland, circa 1700. He began work as a janitor in the High School at Edinburgh. He later became a tutor for a family and studied at the University.
Dr. Thomas Arne was born in 1704 in London. His father was a wealthy upholsterer and Thomas Arne was educated at Eton. Although his father was intent upon him pursing the law, Arne would sneak out to theatres and learned to play the spinet muffling his hands with a handkerchief.
Midi file - Courtesy Lesley Nelson's Folk Music of England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales & America website. Midi by Lesley Nelson.
His father only discovered his interest when he attended a party to find his son was the first fiddler. His father came to both accept and support his son's music. Arne wrote "the first music that rivaled the Italians in compass and difficulty."* His most famous work was Comus. Arne died March 5, 1778.
In the Scottish Students Songbook (1891) these words are noted as by A.J.C. Fifty Sailors' Songs or Chanties (circa 1870) does not credit an author.
The information above and the MIDI file is from Lesley
Nelson's Folk Music of England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales & America
Midi by Lesley Nelson.
Song sheet from my collection. M.L.
Lesley Nelson's Listed Mermaid Lyrics
There was a gay young farmer,
Who liv'd on Salisbury plain;
He lov'd a rich Knight's daughter dear!
And she lov'd him again.
The Knight he was distressed,
That they should sweethearts be.
So he had the farmer soon pressed,
And sent him off to sea.
Singing Rule Britannia,
Britannia rules the waves
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves...
'Twas on the deep Atlantic,
We lowered a boat to find him,
He said that as he went down,
She came at once unto him,
The wind was fair, the sails set,