JACK MONROE

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
  • JACK MONROE
    “Jack Monroe”, also known as “Jack Munro,” “Jackie Monroe,” “Jack-A-Roe,”
    “Jackaroe,” “Jackaro,” “Jackie Frazier,” “Jack the Sailor,” “Jack Went A-Sailing,” “The
    Love of Polly and Jack Monroe,” among other titles, is a traditional ballad of uncertain
    (though presumably British) origin.
    The version “Jack The Sailor” collected in Cecil Sharp’s English Folk Songs From the
    Southern Appalachians is frequently cited. Dianne Dugaw’s Warrior Women and Popular
    Balladry, 1650-1850 gives a 1934 version of “Jack Monroe” collected in Missouri, and
    also notes the existence of a version “on an 1830s Boston broadside in American
    Antiquarian Society, un-catalogued Ballads.”
    The song is a staple of the folk rock repertoire and has been performed by Joan Baez,
    Bob Dylan, and more commonly, The Grateful Dead (as Jack-A-Roe). In 1931, Florence
    Reece used this tune for her song Which Side Are You On? “.
    There was a silk merchant
    In London town did dwell,
    He had one only daughter,
    And the truth to you I’ll tell.
    Sing lili, lili, O, O lili, lili, O
    This young lady she was courted
    By men of high degree;
    There was none but Jack the sailor
    Would ever do for she.
    As soon as her waiting-maid
    Heard what she did say,
    She went unto her father
    With her heart content.
    Dcar daughter, if this be true
    What I have heard of you,
    It’s Jackie shall be vanished
    And you confined shall be.
    This body you may have,
    My heart you can’t confine;
    There’s none but Jack the sailor
    That can have this heart of mine.
    Poor Jackie, he’s gone sailing
     With trouble on his mind,
    A-leaving of his country
    And darling girl behind.
    Poor Jackie, he’s gone sailing,
    His face we shall see no more.
    He’s landed at San Flanders
    On the dismal sandy shore.
    She went into the tailor shop
    And dressed in men’s array,
    And went into a vessel
    To convey herself away.
    Before you step on board, sir,
    Your name I’d like to know.
    She smiled all over her countenance
    “They call me Jack Monroe.”
    Your waist is light and slender,
    Your fingers neat and small,
    Your cheeks too red and rosy
    To face the cannon ball.
    I know my waist is ligbt and slender,
    My fingers are neat and small,
    But I never change my countenance
    To face the cannon ball.
    The wars heing over,
    She hunted all around
    Among the dead and wounded,
    And her darling boy she fonnd.
    She picked him all up in her arms
    And carried him to the town,
    And sent for a physician
    Who quickly healed his wounds.
    This couple they got married,
    So well did they agree.
    This couple they got married,
    And why not you and me?