Our song today comes with both male and female verses. Though they are often sung apart, the occasional duet is most beautiful. You can hear a version of it by Silly Wizard here.

If I Were a Blackbird

Begins with the man’s part:

I am a young sailor, my story is sad
For once I was carefree and a bold sailor lad.
I courted a lassie by night and by day,
But now she has left me and gone far away.

Refrain 1:

Oh if I were a blackbird, I’d whistle and sing,
I’d follow the vessel my true love sails in
And in the top rigging, I’d there build my nest
And I’d flutter my wings o’er her lily-white breast.

Or if I were a scholar and could handle a pen,
One secret love letter to my true love I’d send.
And I’d tell of my sorrow, my grief and my pain,
Since she’s gone and left me in yon flowery glen.

(Refrain 1)

I sailed o’er the ocean, my fortune to seek,
Though I missed her caress and her kiss on my cheek.
I returned and I told her my love was still warm,
But she turned away lightly and great was her scorn.

(Refrain 1)

I offered to take her to Donnybrook Fair.
And to buy her fine ribbons to tie up her hair.
I offered to marry and to stay by her side,
But she said in the morning she sailed with the tide.

(Refrain 1)

My parents they chide me, and will not agree,
Say that me and my false love married should never be.
Ah, but let them deprive me, let them do as they will,
While there’s breath in my body, she’s the one I love still.

(Refrain 1)


Proceeds to the woman’s part:

I am a young maiden and my story is sad
For once I was courted by a brave sailor lad.
He courted me strongly by night and by day
But now my dear sailor is gone far away.

Refrain 2:

If I were a blackbird I’d whistle and sing
And I’d follow the ship That my true love sails in,
And on the top rigging I’d there build my nest,
And I’d pillow my head on his snowy-white breast.

He promised to take me to Donnybrook fair,
To buy me red ribbons to tie up my hair.
And when he’d return from the ocean so wide,
He’d take me and make me his own loving bride.

(Refrain 2)

His parents they slight me and will not agree
That I and my sailor boy married should be.
But when he comes home I will greet him with joy,
And I’ll take to my bosom my dear sailor boy.

(Refrain 2)

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