The Sailor's Complaint (George Frideric Handel)

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  • (Posted 2004-09-21)  CPDL #07918:  IMSLP.png
Editor: Christian Mondrup (submitted 2004-09-21).   Score information: Letter, 2 pages, 45 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: basso continuo realized by Christian Mondrup. Scroll down to The Sailors's Complaint (No. 6).

General Information

Title: The Sailors's Complaint
Composer: George Frideric Handel

Number of voices: 1v   Voicing: Soprano solo
Genre: SecularAria

Language: English
Instruments: Basso continuo

First published: 1730 in The Musical Miscellany, Vol 4, p. 54, John Watts, London

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Come and listen to my ditty,
All ye jolly hearts of gold;
Lend a brother Tar your pity,
Who was once so stout and bold.
But the arrows of Cupid,
Alas! have made me rue;
Sure, true love was ne'er so treated,
As am I by scornful Sue.

When I landed first at Dover,
She appear'd a goddess bright;
From foreign parts I was just come over,
And was struck with so fair a sight.
On shore pretty Sukey walked,
Near to where our frigate lay,
And altho' so near the landing,
I, alas! was cast away.

When first I hail'd my pretty creature,
The delight of land and sea,
No man ever saw a sweeter,
I'd have kept her company;
I'd have fain made her my true love,
For better, or for worse;
But alas! I could not compass her,
For to steer the marriage course.

Once, no greater joy and pleasure,
Cou'd have come into my mind,
Than to see the bold defiance,
sailing right before the wind:
O'er the white waves as she danced,
And her colours gayly flew;
But that was not half so charming,
As the trim of lovely Sue

On a rocky coast I've driven,
Where the stormy winds do rise,
Where the rowling mountain billows,
Lift a vessel to the skies:
But from land, or from the ocean,
Little dread I ever knew,
When compared to the dangers,
In the frowns of scornful Sue.

Long I wonder'd why my jewel,
Had the heart to use me so;
Till I found by often sounding,
She'd another love in tow:
So farewel hard hearted Sukey,
I'll my fortune seek at sea,
And try in a more friendly latitude,
Since I in yours cannot be.