“Farewell, Charming Nancy”


The sailor bids his sweetheart farewell. She does not wish to part, and offers to go with him. He tells her that she simply is not strong enough for life at sea. They part sadly. Some texts warn girls against trusting sailors


This should not be confused with "Adieu, Sweet Lovely Nancy", which does not include most of the elements of this song. - PJS

The editors of Sam Henry do not list their version,"Johnnie and Molly," here. This is understandable, as the text lacks the characteristic first line, "Farewell, lovely Nancy, for now I must leave you." But the plots of the two songs are the same, they scan the same way, and they have many lyrics in common. Same song, sez I. - RBW

The Bodleian broadside and one of the Karpeles-Newfoundland texts lacks the ending warning to girls against trusting sailors.

Creighton-SNewBrunswick, as much as there is of it, fits the pattern and some of the lines. Roud puts the fragment here but the note in Henry p. 304 notes that Creighton-SNewBrunswick 44 is "a fragment that may be a very different version." It seems close enough for me. - BS

Entirely agreed; it lacks the first two lines "Farewell, Lovely Nancy" -- but informant Angelo Dornan remembered only half of the first stanza; one suspects they were part of the version he learned. And the rest is the same. - RBW

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Harding B 25(1704), "The Sailor's Farewell" ("Fare you well dearest Nancy, since now I must leave you"), unknown, n.d.


  • Nora Cleary, "Farewell, Lovely Mary" (on Voice12)
  • A. L. Lloyd, "Farewell, Nancy" (on Lloyd2, Lloyd3)


  1. Laws K14, "Farewell, Charming Nancy"
  2. Sharp-100E 30, "Farewell, Nancy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. SHenry H755, p. 297, "Johnnie and Molly" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. OLochlainn-More 22, "Farewell, Dearest Nancy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Tunney-StoneFiddle, pp. 98-99, "Adieu Lovely Nancy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. BrownII 101, "Charming Nancy" (2 texts plus mention of 2 more)
  7. Scarborough-SongCatcher, pp. 373-373, "Lovely Nancy" (1 short text; tune on p. 456)
  8. Chappell-FSRA 38, "Charming Nancy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  9. Karpeles-Newfoundland 51, "Farewell Nancy" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  10. Creighton-Maritime, p. 40, "Lovely Molly" (1 text, 1 tune)
  11. Creighton-SNewBrunswick 44, "Jimmy and Nancy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  12. DT 404, FRWLNANC*
  13. Roud #527
  14. BI, LK14


Alternate titles: “Farewell, Lovely Nancy”; “The Sailor and His True Love”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: c. 1855 (broadside)
Keywords: sailor parting
Found in: US(Ap,SE) Britain(England(South,North)) Ireland Canada(Mar,Newf)