“Henry and Mary Ann (Henry the Sailor Boy)”


Mary Ann bids Henry to stay with her. He refuses, and also refuses her offer to come with him. He goes to sea, where he performs valiantly and saves the Captain's life. When he comes home, the Captain gives him fifty pounds; the couple get married


SHenry, re the tune for "Henry, the Sailor Boy": "almost all the [Irish] murder songs were composed to it." The tune is close to the one used by A.L. Lloyd for the verse of "Paddy West" (on Ewan MacColl and A.L. Lloyd, "Blow Boys Blow," Tradition TCD 1024 (1996)) - BS

Cross references

  • cf. "The River Roe" (tune)
  • cf. "Jeannette and Jeannott" (tune, per broadside Bodleian Firth c.12(284))


  • Bodleian, Harding B 26(246), "Henry and Mary Ann," J. Moore (Belfast), 1846-1852; also Firth c.12(284), Firth b.27(353), "Henry and Mary Ann"


  1. SHenry H37, pp. 485-486, "Henry, the Sailor Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Tunney-SongsThunder, pp. 96-97, "Henry and His Maryanne" (1 text)
  3. Peacock, pp. 899-900, "Young Henry" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Creighton-SNewBrunswick 32, "My Mary Ann" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
  5. Roud #2284
  6. BI, HHH037


Alternate titles: “My Mary Ann”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1853 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 26(246))
Found in: Ireland Canada(Mar,Newf)