“The Poor Old Sailor”


An old sailor begging tells his story: his death, falsely reported, caused his wife to die of a broken heart and his daughter to wander "I know not where." A woman listening reveals herself as his daughter and she takes him home until he dies.


Smith/Hatt: Fowke notes that "John Moulden has located a broadside copy entitled 'The Poor Old Sailor' in the National Library of Ireland." That led me to look for the same in Bodleian.

Bodleian, Harding B 40(12), "The Poor Old Soldier" ("'Twas on a summers eve all labour was o'er"), J.F. Nugent and Co.? (Dublin?), 1850-1899 appears to be the same -- or closely related--but I could not download the text image to verify that.

Broadside LOCSinging cw106810: H. De Marsan dating per _Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song_ by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS


  • Bodleian, Johnson Ballads 457, "The Poor Old Worn-Out Sailor," E.M.A. Hodges (London), 1844-1845; also Harding B 11(3099), Harding B 20(177), Firth c.12(399), "The Poor Old Worn-Out Sailor"; Harding B 11(2622), Harding B 11(2623), "The Poor Old Worn Out Sailor"; Harding B 25(1540), 2806 c.18(253), "The Poor Old Sailor"
  • LOCSinging, cw106810, "The Worn Out Sailor," H. De Marsan (New York), 1864-1878


  1. Smith/Hatt, pp. 59-60, "The Worn-Out Sailor" (1 text)
  2. Roud #6764
  3. BI, SmHa059


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1846 (broadside, Bodleian Johnson Ballads 457)
Found in: Canada(Mar)