The Valiant Lady
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


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This song is also known as The Brisk Young Lively Lad. It is a variant of the black-letter ballad (broadside) The Valiant Virgin, or Philip and Mary which appears in the Roxburghe Manuscripts (17th century). It was sung to the tune When the Stormy Winds do Blow. That ballad takes place in Worcestershire, where the lady is the daughter of a rich merchant and knows surgery and medicine. Her lover is a poor farmer. Her father dies while they are at sea, and they return to marry.

When the Stormy Winds Do Blow was popular in the 17th century and used as the melody or part of the melody for several songs. There is no copy of that original air.

This was collected in Surrey in 1896 and appeared in the Journal of Folk Song Society in 1900.

There are similarities between this story and The Bonny Lighter Boy and Jackaroe.

It's of a brisk young lively lad
Came out of Gloucestershire,
And all his full intention was
To court a lady fair.
Her eyes they shone like morning dew,
Her hair was fair to see;
She was grace,
In form and face,
And was fixed in modesty.

This couple was a-walking,
They loved each other well;
And someone heard them talking
And did her father tell,
And when her father came to know
And understand this thing,
Then said he
'From one like thee
I'll free my daughter in the spring!'

'Twas in the spring-time of the year
There was a press begun;
And all their full intention was
To press a farmer's son.
They pressed him, and sent him out
Far o'er the raging sea,
'where I'm sure
He will no more
Keep my daughter company!

In man's apparel then she did
Resolve to try her fate;
And in the good ship where he rid
She went as surgeon's mate.
Says she 'My soldier shall not be
Destroyed for want of care;
I will dress,
And I will bless,
Whatsoever I endure!

The twenty-first of August
There was a fight begun,
And foremost in the battle
They placed the farmer's son.
He there received a dreadful wound
That struck him in the thigh,
Every vein
Was filled with pain,
He got wounded dreadfully.

Into the surgeon's cabin
They did convey him straight,
Where, first of all the wounded men,
The pretty surgeon's mate
Most tenderly did dress his wound,
Which bitterly did smart;
Then said he
'Oh! one like thee
Once was mistress of my heart!

She went to the commander
And offered very fair:
'Forty or fifty guineas
Shall buy my love quite clear!
No money shall be wanted,
No longer tarry here!'
'Since 'tis so
Come, let's go!
To old England we will steer!'

She went unto her father's gate
And stood there for a while;
Said he 'The heavens bless you!
My own and lovely child!;'
Cried she 'Since I have found him,
And brought him safe to shore,
Our days we'll spend
In old England,
Never roam abroad no more!'

Related Links
From English Traditional Songs and Carols
See Bibliography for full information.