“The Silk Merchant's Daughter (I)”


A girl's parents send her lover away. She dresses in men's clothes and follows him. Their ship sinks. In a lifeboat, she is chosen by lot to be killed for food; he is to kill her. (She reveals herself); they spot (land or a ship) and all are saved

Same tune

  • MacDonald's Return to Glencoe (The Pride of Glencoe) [Laws N39] (File: LN39)

Cross references

  • cf. "The Ship in Distress" (plot) and references there
  • cf. "MacDonald's Return to Glencoe (The Pride of Glencoe) [Laws N39]" (tune)


  • Bodleian, Harding B 11(3744), "The Silk Merchant's Daughter" ("As I was a-walking up New London street", unknown, n.d.; also Harding B 25(1778), "The Silk Merchant's Daughter"


  • Tom Lenihan, "To Fair London Town" (on IRTLenihan01)


  1. Laws N10, "The Silk Merchant's Daughter"
  2. Doerflinger, pp. 296-298, "The Silk Merchant's Daughter" (2 texts, 1 tune)
  3. Greenleaf/Mansfield 25, "The Castaways" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Ord, pp. 63-64, "The Merchant's Daughter Turned Sailor" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Munnelly/Deasy-Lenihan 1, "To Fair London Town" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Randolph 43, "The Silk Merchant's Daughter" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. JHCox 99, "The Silk Merchant's Daughter" (fragments of a text with narration of the plot as recalled by the informant)
  8. BrownII 107, "The Silk-Merchant's Daughter" (2 texts)
  9. Hudson 35, pp. 148-149, "The Silk-Merchant's Daughter" (1 text)
  10. Brewster 43, "The Silk-Merchant's Daughter" (1 text, which Laws describes as "almost completely rewritten"; the boy goes to sea to avoid the girl)
  11. SharpAp 64, "The Silk Merchant's Daughter" (4 texts, 4 tunes)
  12. Gardner/Chickering 64, "The Silk Merchant's Daughter" (1 text)
  13. DT 441, SLKMRCHT
  14. Roud #552
  15. BI, LN10


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1913 (Brown)
Found in: US(Ap,MW,SE,So) Canada(Newf,Ont) Britain(Scotland,England) Ireland