‘Twas on a sunny morning in the month of May,
I met a pretty damsel on the banks o’ the Tay;
I said, My charming fair one, come tell to me I pray,
Why do you walk alone on the banks o’ the Tay.
She said, Kind sir, pity me, for I am in great woe
About my young sailor lad, whose name is James Munro;
It’s he has been long at sea, seven years from this day,
And I come here sometimes to weep for him that’s far, far away.
Lovely creature, cease your weeping and consent to marry me,
And my houses and all my land I will give to thee,
And we shall get married without any delay,
And live happy and contented on the banks o’ the Tay.
Believe me, my sweet lady, I pity the sailor’s wife,
For I think she must lead a very unhappy life;
Especially on a stormy night, I’m sure she cannot sleep,
Thinking about her husband whilst on the briny deep.
Oh, sir! it is true, what you to me have said,
But I must be content with the choice I’ve made;
For Munro’s he’s young and handsome, I will ne’er deny,
And if I don’t get him for a husband, believe me, I will die.
Because, when last we parted, we swore to be true,
And I will keep my troth, which lovers ought to do;
And I will pray for his safe return by night and by day,
That God may send him safe home to the banks o’ the Tay.
Forgive me, noble heart, for asking to marry you,
I was only trying your love, if it was really true;
But I’ve found your love is pure towards your sailor lad,
And the thought thereof, believe me, makes my heart feel glad.
As homeward we retraced our steps her heart seemed glad,
In hopes of seeing again her brave sailor lad,
He had promised to marry her when he would return,
So I bade her keep up her spirits and no longer mourn.
Dear creature, the lass that’s true to her sweetheart deserves great praise,
And I hope young Munro and you will spend many happy days,
For unto him I know you will ever prove true,
And perchance when he comes home he will marry you.
What you have said, kind sir, I hope will come true,
And if it does, I’ll make it known to you;
And you must come to the marriage, which you musn’t gainsay,
And dance and rejoice with us on the marriage-day.
When we arrived in Dundee she bade me good-bye,
Then I told her where I lived, while she said with a sigh,
Kind sir, I will long remember that morning in May,
When I met you by chance on the banks o’ the Tay.
When three months were past her sailor lad came home,
And she called to see me herself alone,
And she invited me to her marriage without delay,
Which was celebrated with great pomp the next day.
So I went to the marriage with my heart full of joy,
And I wished her prosperity with her sailor boy;
And I danced and sang till daylight, and then came away,
Leaving them happy and contented on the banks o’ the Tay.
So all ye pretty fair maids, of high or low degree,
Be faithful to your sweethearts when they have gone to sea,
And never be in doubts of them when they are far away,
Because they might return and marry you some unexpected day.