IF I WERE A BLACKBIRD

by Scott Macmillan

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A beautiful folksong melody collected by Dr. Helen Creighton in Lunenberg County, Nova Scotia. It is in 3/4 time telling the story of a sailor, his maiden, and the pain of separation.

I once knew a maiden, a maiden so rare
fell in love with a sailor, a young sailor boy
She courted him daily, by night and by day
til at length this young sailor, he sailed far away

For I were a blackbird, I’d whistle and sing
I’d follow the ship my true love sails in
And in the top rigging I’d there build my nest
And I’d fly like a seagull to his lily white breast

I am a young maiden, my story is sad
For if I was carefree and in love with a lad
He courted me sweetly by night and by day
But now he has left me and gone far away

My love is handsome in every degree
My parents despise him because he loves me
But let them despise him and say what they will
When there’s life in my bosom, I’d love that boy still

Now if I were a scholar and could handle a pen
One long loving letter, unto him I’d send.
I’d tell him my sorrow, my grief and my woe
If I could but find him I’d crown him with gold

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SATB – with piano $2.35 CP 1360 – duration 4:05