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Floating by the Tide

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Performer: Bayliss, William
Place Collected: Buckland
Date collected: 1909 (7 Apr)
Collector: Sharp, Cecil
Roud Number: 1414

Cecil Sharp took this fragment to be a version of “Binnorie” or “The Two Sisters”, but scholars have correctly identified it as a song known variously as “In Cambridge/London/Risling City”, “Molly and William” and several other titles. It is not a common song and most of the collected versions do not tell the whole story, but one collected in Sussex reveals the whole plot.

The story bears a strong resemblance to Roud 564 “The Old Riverside” with the added twist in this song of the young man diving into the water, trying in vane to save the girl, and then repenting of his behaviour in the last verse.

Notes by Gwilym Davies 29 June 2015