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The Dark-Eyed Sailor

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Alternative title: Phoebe and her Dark-Eyed Sailor

Performer: Bishop, Emily
Place Collected: Bromsberrow Heath
Date collected: 1952
Collector: Kennedy, Peter
Roud Number: 265

Versions of this song go back to the 18th century, when it was printed as Fair Phoebe and her Dark-eyed Sailor.  It is a typical ‘broken token’ ballad with the lovers breaking a token or coin between them, to be joined together when the sailor/soldier returns from sea/the war.  This is one of the most well-known of this genre, with versions appearing regularly on both sides of the Atlantic, even in recent times.

Notes by Gwilym Davies 7 September 2015