Patrick Spencer

(Sir Patrick Spens, Child No. 58)

1975 Bob Coltman

 

I sang with Ed Trickett professionally for many years, and still do for fun. I think I learned this song from him in the 1970s or one of those decades. His friend Bob Coltman has written many hundreds of songs including the great folk-favorite, Lonesome Robin.

 

Through friends in various services, I've come to know what it's like to be sent to sea and kept out there by people who never had to be out there.

 

Gordon 12-string guitar

 

Oh, don't the moon look pretty, she sails like a ship in the sky

Darling, you don't know nothing about sailing, she's got a cast in the eye

When the moon weeps silvery tears, you can look for a terrible storm

God pity the sailor that's out tomorrow, I'm glad I can bide at home

 

If you be Patrick Spencer, and man, you better had be

Here's a letter from the King, he commands you to go to sea

How little he thinks of the dangers, among his wine and his song

His daughter in far Norroway, she's sick and she wants to come home

 

He might have written me greeting, he might have cast me blame

He might have asked me a hundred favors, God knows I'd never complain

But this running up in the rigging with a hurricane on the wing

It's come to a matter of like and death to have to pleasure the King

 

Standing out to sea, oh Lord, it commenced to rain

The sea like the tops of mountains, and the wind like a thing in pain

Patrick Spencer took his glass, and he put it in Johnny's hand

Run up, Johnny, as high as you can, and see if you see any land

 

No land, Patrick Spencer, no never a sight of shore

The give it over, boys, he cried, we'll never see home any more

Never mind your knuckle shoes, for you'll wet more than your feet

And as for the letter from the King, it's a damn small winding-sheet

 

Christinie be a long, long while a-waiting for me to come home

And the cold, cold sea be a long, long time a-walking over my bones

That man that told the King about me, I wish I had him here

And the one last wish I would like to have granted is to carry him under with me

 

 

Patrick Spencer is recorded on the album In Concert