Verse 1: 'There was a sea captain was married of late / Unto a young lady, and gained her estate, / He was a sea captain and bound for the sea, / Before he was bedded he was called away'.
Ballads about sea captains and sailors appear to have been very popular in Scotland. This is hardly surprising, given the proliferation of harbours and ports around Scotland, and the importance of shipping routes to Scottish trade and the economy. This example tells the story of how the local squire and his servants cuckolded the captain while he was at sea for eight months. Upon his return his entire female staff were delivered of children. He forgave his wife, however, as he fathered a child in the West Indies whilst travelling!
It is fairly unusual for the topics of procreation, pregnancy and confinement to be discussed in such open detail, as they were considered to be socially unacceptable and bad mannered. It is reassuring to know, however, that people were only human, and were more than aware of the realities of their society and the situations around them.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
Probable date published:
1820- shelfmark: APS.4.86.3
View larger image