A Roving


h1 June 1st, 2009

Also known as “The Amsterdam Maid” is a capstan song. It might have been sung at a slower tempo as pushing the bars around a capstan to pull up the anchor could be a slow arduous task, especially if the night before on shore was a rollicking one.

The chantey man, leading the song, usually sat on the capstan head, singing out the main lines of the song, while the two or three sailors on each of the capstan bars sang the chorus.

The song’s origin in the 1600s suggests that it was probably not an original chantey but a shore song, since it was performed on the London stage in the “Rape of Lucrece.”

Lyrics:

[G] In Amsterdam there lived a maid
[C] Mark well what I do [G] say.
In [C] Amsterdam there [G] lived a maid,
And [Am] she was mistress of her [D] trade.
[G] I’ll go no more a roving with thee [D] fair [D] maid.
CHORUS:-

[C] A roving, [G] a roving, since [Am] roving’s been my [D] ruin
[G] I’ll go no more a roving with thee [D] fair [G] maid.

Her lips were red, her eyes were brown,
Mark well what I do say.
Her lips were red, her eyes were brown,
And her hair was black and it hung right down,
I’ll go no more a-roving with thee, fair maid.

I put my arm around her waist ,
Mark well what I do say.
I put my arm around her waist,
Cried she,”Young man you’re in great haste.”
I’ll go no more a-roving with thee, fair maid.

I took that maid upon my knee,
Mark well what I do say.
I took that maid upon my knee,
Cried she, “Young man, you’re much too free”;
I’ll go no more a-roving with thee fair maid.

I kissed that maid and stole away,
Mark well what I do say.
I kissed that maid and stole away,
She wept- “Young man, why won’t you stay “;
I’ll go no more a-roving with thee, fair maid.

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