“The Roving Shantyboy”


"Come all you tru-born shantyboys wherever you may be." The singer describes how he met a pretty girl and took her on my knee. The song shifts to the girl's viewpoint as she laments that "he was away by the first of may." She laments with her child


Fowke considers this to be "adapted from an older British song, but here the original has proved harder to identify." It appears to me *very* similar to "Rambleaway," including that song's shift in viewpoint: The man describes the seduction, the woman the consequences. Though the lyrics have points of contact with "The Foggy Dew" and others. - RBW

Cross references

  • cf. "Oh No Not I" (plot)
  • cf. "Rambleaway" (plot)


  1. Fowke-Lumbering #57, "The Roving Shantyboy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #4359
  3. BI, FowL56


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1965 (Fowke)
Found in: Canada(Ont)