Just as the Tide was Flowing

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JUST AS THE TIDE WAS FLOWING. English, Air (4/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. "Just as the Tide was Flowing" seems to have had some popularity in the 19th century as a song [Roud 1105], although published versions are relatively few. Printed versions were issued on broadsides [1] from the first half of the 19th century. See also the closely related tunes "Deadly Wars (The)," "Poor Soldier (2)" and "Mill, Mill Oh (The)," from which "Just as the Tide was Flowing" may have derived from. Other suggestions are that it is a derivation of the air used by Thomas D'Urfey for his song "Sawny will never be my love again" (written for his 1679 play The Virtuous Wife; or, Good Luck at Last) and by Alan Ramsay for "Corn Riggs are Bonny" (1729). Antiquarian William Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Time, vol. 2, p. 618) believed it likely D'Ufey's tune was composed by Thomas Farmer, who contributed other pieces to The Virtuous Wife. See also the related airs for "Parting Glass (2) (The)," the Irish tune "Peacock (3) (The)" and the Morris dance tune "Blue Eyed Stranger (2) (The)." The first two stanzas set to the air, printed by Kidson (1891) but originally from a broadside, begin:

One morning in the month of May,
Down by a rolling river,
A jolly sailor he did stray,
And there beheld a lover.
She carelessly along did stray,
A viewing of the daisies gay,
She sweetly sang her roundelay.
Just as the tide was flowing.

Her dress it was a white as milk,
And jewels did adorn her skin,
It was as soft and any silk,
Just like a lady of honour.
Her cheeks were red, her eyes were brown,
Her hair in ringlets hanging down,
Her lovely brow without a frown,
Just as the tide was flowing.


Source for notated version: The tune was collected from Mr. Charles Lolley, Leeds, Yorkshire, who picked up the song (along with the shanty "Outward Bound" and "Indian Lass (The)") from coastal villages in the East Riding, or from sailors in Hill [Kidson].

Printed sources: Kidson (Traditional Tunes), 1891; p. 108.

Recorded sources:




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