The Dark-Eyed Sailor

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A great number of songs include a ‘broken token’ as a reminder for the couple of their love. This is a Scottish version of a very widespread and well-known British song dating from the 1830s. The theme itself is a popular and much older one found in countless printed ballads, traditional tunes, books, poems and pubs, as one might expect of an island nation.

Click on a mosaic pic for a better view. You’ll certainly need it to read a ballad sheet of the song in the Bodleian Library and printed by Sanderson in Edinburgh.

About SongShepherd

Singer, musician & cyclist.
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2 Responses to The Dark-Eyed Sailor

  1. Lovely song. but query Scots origin as language does not appear to be from Lowlands or North-East Scotland.

    • songshepherd says:

      I agree with you. It may be that the song, collected in Scotland, was perhaps sung by a non-Scot or he or she followed the printed form of a Catnach broadside of the late 1830s from which all versions developed. I don’t remember where I found the song; it was pre-internet. Many thanks for your thoughts!
      PS I tracked down a Victorian ballad sheet printed in Edinburgh and have put it in the picture mosaic so it can be read slightly more easily.

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