1. Jackie Munroe

From the recording Timber And Stream

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Traditional, adaptation © Mark Clavey

Sonya Baughman: vocals, recorder
Mark Clavey: vocals, guitar
Mary Hanover: vocals, hammered dulcimer

Jackie Munroe does an admirable job of weaving a tale from two recurring themes in traditional music. One is of a man of high degree, a father cool to the idea of his dear and desirable daughter falling for a man below her station. The father arranges the death or timely departure of the ill-fated fellow ("Matt Hyland", "The Dowie Dens of Yarrow"). The other is of a daring, dauntless woman who decides, for various reasons, that an adventuresome life is the life for her, and goes soldiering or sailing, attired as a man ("The Female Warrior", "William Taylor"). The melody we've selected is an adaptation of the Kerry polka, "McElroy's Fancy".


There was a wealthy nobleman in London town did dwell who had an only daughter, the truth to you I'll tell. She had sweethearts a-plenty who to marriage were inclined though none but John, a soldier-lad, could gain this lady's mind. Now when this daughter's maid-in-waiting heard what she did say, right to her lady's father she straightly made her way. And when her father came to know, so angry then he swore, "I'll give the gang ten guineas to press young John to the war."

"My Johnny's gone across the sea, his face I'll see no more, you've sent him off to battle on some foreign distant shore. And though my body you may have, my heart you can't confine, there's none but John, the sailor-lad, can have this heart of mine."

She robbed her father cleverly, got money at her command, and took in mind to rove and go into some foreign land. She went into a tailor's shop and dressed in men's array, and shipped on board a vessel to convey herself away. "Before you join our regiment, your name I'd like to know." She smiled all o'er her countenance, "They call me Jack Munroe." He said, "Your waist is far too thin, your fingers neat and small, your cheeks too red and rosy for to face the cannon ball."

"My Johnny's gone across the sea, &c"

"I know my waist is slender, my fingers neat and small, but it wouldn't change my countenance to see ten thousand fall." So off they went a-sailing across the deep blue sea, till safely she was landed in the wars of Germany. The drums did beat and rattle, and the fife did sweetly play, she marched up to the enemy and bravely fought away. And when the war was over, she hunted up and down, 'til among the dead and wounded, her darling boy she found.

"My Johnny's gone across the sea, &c"

She picked him up all in her arms and carried him to town, and took him to a surgeon for to heal his bleeding wounds. "So now the war is over and we'll sail back again, and we'll land at my father's house on a clear and pleasant morn."

"My Johnny's come across the sea, his face you'll see again. I've saved my love from dying on some foreign distant plain. And though my body now I have, my heart I can't confine, for John, my darling sailor-lad, now holds this heart of mine."