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Arthur Lloyd's 'Married To A Mermaid'

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Arthur Lloyd's 'Married To A Mermaid'This 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.
This song was based on that work. The more commonly known lyrics can be found at Rule Britannia!

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.

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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 website. Midi by Lesley Nelson.

Song sheet from my collection. M.L.

Arthur Lloyd's Mermaid Lyrics - Click To Enlarge

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,
Midst Equinoctial gales;
This young farmer fell overboard
Among the sharks and whales;
He disappeared so quickly,
So headlong down went he,
That he went out of sight
Like a streak of light
To the bottom of the deep blue sea.
Singing Rule Britannia,
Britannia rules the waves
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves...

We lowered a boat to find him,
We thought to see his corse,
When up to the top he came with a bang,
And sang in a voice so hoarse,
'My comrades and my messmates,
Oh, do not weep for me,
For I'm married to a mermaid,
At the bottom of the deep blue sea.'
Singing Rule Britannia,
Britannia rules the waves
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves... 

 

 

He said that as he went down,
Great fishes he did see;
They seemed to think as he did wink,
That he was rather free.
But down he went so quickly,
Saying, ''Tis all up with me,'
When he met a lovely mermaid
At the bottom of the deep blue sea.
Singing Rule Britannia,
Britannia rules the waves
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves...

She came at once unto him,
And gave him her white hand,
Saying, 'I have waited long, my dear,
To welcome you to land.
Go to your ship and tell them,
You'll leave them all for me;
For you're married to a mermaid
At the bottom of the deep blue sea.'
Singing Rule Britannia,
Britannia rules the waves
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves...

The wind was fair, the sails set,
The ship was running free;
When we all went to the captain bold,
And told what we did see.
He went unto the ship's side,
And loudly bellowed he,
'Be happy as you can, my man,
At the bottom of the deep blue sea.'
Singing Rule Britannia,
Britannia rules the waves
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves...