“Down by the Seaside”


Singer meets young woman and asks her to walk with him. She declines; she's searching for her true love. Looking through an opera glass, she spies his ship; hearing that he has been shot, she despairs; if he died for honor, she will die for love


This is a conundrum; it starts out as a classic John-Riley-lover-in-disguise ballad, but halfway through does not take the usual sharp turn of revealing the stranger to be the lover returned. Instead, it proceeds in a straight line to the young man's death and the woman's bereavement. - PJS

Cross references

  • cf. "John (George) Riley (I)" (part of plot, lyrics) and cross-references there
  • cf. "Susan Strayed on the Briny Beach [Laws K19]" (plot)


  • George Maynard, "Down By the Seaside" (on Maynard1)


  1. Roud #1712
  2. BI, RcDBTSS


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1956 (recorded from George Maynard)
Found in: Britain(England(South))