The journeyman tailor, song

Eddie Butcher, singing in English
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Lyrics

As I went out walking one morning in May
A journeyman tailor by chance came that way;
He being brisk and airy and she saw him pass by,
She called to that young man and bid him draw nigh.

2
– Where were you born or where were you bred?
Or what is your name, sir? pray tell me your trade.
– I was born nigh Derry, fair lady, said he,
And James was the name that my godfather gave me.

3
–James, in this country I would have you to tarry
And some pretty fair maid I would have you to marry;
Perhaps that your rambling might increase your store,
So James,  in this country you will ramble no more.

4
James, I would have you for to marry me
And you’ll get attendants for to wait upon you
And then you’ll have a footboy for to walk by your side
And the day you get married, James, I’ll be your bride.

5
– My rambling, fair lady, I don’t value one pin,
I’m always endeavouring a living to win;
Oh, but wedding with one that’s not fit for to be,
So therefore, fair lady, we will never agree.

6
Her father was listening how he pled his cause
He steppéd up to him, gave him great applause,
And suchen a wedding, sure never was seen
As the journeyman tailor and his beautiful queen.

Notes

Neither broadside editions nor versions from Britain are known, though a song sung in Scotland contains a verse similar to v. 3: Greig LXI and SSS SA52 8B14. The song appears to be a nineteenth-century Irish one which was transmitted orally to America and Australia by Irish emigrants, perhaps without taking root in Britain. The travelling tailor is traditionally notorious as a seducer of females – see O’Sullivan p.40 – and apparent ignorance of this fact, or indifference to it, might be an indication of provincial authorship; at least two expatriate versions retain mention of Derry (Karpeles, Moore). Canadian versions have replaced the Irish ‘journeyman tailor’ by a more familiar kind of hero, the ‘jovial young sailor’. But the journeyman tailor was common enough in Ireland when the song was composed: ‘There are 19 tailors in the Parish of Magilligan – including journeymen and Apprentices – Charge for making a Frize Coat at the farmer’s house 2s./2d. For making Breeches or trowsers 15/0 p pair –  For making a Waistcoat 15/0’ – OS 10.