We be Three Poor Mariners

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WE BE THREE POOR MARINERS. AKA and see “Brangill of Poictu.” English, Ballad Air (cut time). C Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The air appears in Thomas Ravenscroft's Deuteromelia (1609), the Skene Manuscript (c. 1690) {as "Brangill [Branle] of Poictu"}, and Thomas D'Urfey's (1653-1723) Pills to Purge Menalcholy (vol. 1, 1698). Ravenscroft included it as one of King Henry's Mirth or Freemen's Songs. A branle, or, in English, braule/brawl, was a term for a class of dances in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, including, according to Chappell (1859), "all those...in which, as in the Cotillion, the dancers follow a leader." The song goes:

We be three Poor Mariners,
Newly come from the seas;
We spend our lives in jeopardy
While others live at ease:
Shall we go dance the round, the round, the round?
Shall we go dance the round, the round, the round?
And he that is a bully boy
Come pledge me on this ground, aground, aground!

We care not for those martial men
That do our states disdain;
But we care for the merchant men,
Who do our states maintain:
To them we dance this round, around, around,--
To them we dance this round, around, around,--
And he that is a bully boy
Come pledge me on this ground, aground, aground!


Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Time, vol. 1), 1859; pp. 134-135.

Recorded sources:

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]




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