The wheel of Fortune, song

Tom Anderson, singing in English
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When I was young I was well beloved
By all young men in this country,
I left my father, I left my mother,
I left my brothers and sisters three,
I left my friends and my kind relations,
I left them all for to go with you.
He never told me he was going to leave me
Until one evening when he came in,
When he told me he was going to leave me,
Ah, then my sorrows they did begin.
Turn you round, oh you wheel of Fortune,
Turn you round and come, take my part;
You are the young man that broke my fortune
But you’re not the young man to break my heart.


Versions of this English love song vary greatly, each combining motifs of lyric expression differently. The love which is ‘teasing’ in some texts (CI) and ‘bonny’ in others (G) recalls a ‘Waly, waly’ lyric that seems to derive from the ballad ‘Jamie Douglas’, Child no 204. Some versions reinforce a sombre mood with the symbol of the Wheel of Fortune, commonplace since Classical times. Tom’s version is textually epitomized and musically irregular, yet gives a very strong feeling of coherence in the vigorous personal style of his performance. He learned it, like male singers of some of the other versions of this song (F, I), from a woman: Sarah Sweeney of the Point road.