Green Beds, Lyric Variant 02


“Green Beds, Lyric Variant 02,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed May 19, 2024,

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Green Beds, Lyric Variant 02


This item is part of the I. G. Greer Folksong Collection which consists of more than 300 individual song titles and their variants as collected by Isaac Garfield Greer (1881-1967) from informants, primarily in Ashe, Wilkes and Watauga counties. The collection includes manuscripts, typescript transcriptions produced by Dr. Greer’s clerical staff, and handwritten musical notations. Songs range from traditional Child Ballads, traditional English and Scottish ballads as well as their American variants, to 19th century popular music to musical compositions of local origin.


Ballads, English
Sailors--Songs and music
Courtship--Songs and music
Avarice--Songs and music

Alternative Title

Jack from India, Young Johnny, Johnny Been to Sea, What Luck, Young Johnny?, Johnny the Sailor, Jack Tar, The Liverpool Landlady, The Green Bed, Pretty Polly


W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University


Greer, I. G. (Isaac Garfield), 1881-1967








Johnny Been to the Sea

Johnny been to the sea
Johnny been to the shore.
Johhny’s been to the island where he’s never been before.
You’re welcome home ,my Johnny,You’re welcome home from sea.
This night my daughter Polly was dreaming of thee.

What luck says Johnny,what luck says he.
I’ve lost my ship and cargo all on the raging sea.
Where is your daughter Polly,John?
Go bring her in to me.
And early in the morning
Married we will be.

My daughter Polly’s absent,John,and she is far away.
And if she was here,John,
She would not let you stay,
For Polly’s very rich,John,and you are very poor.
And if she was here John,she would kick you out the door.

Johnny being drowsy,he hung down his head,
And called for a candle to light him off to bed
My beds are full of strangers,John, and has been all the week.
And for some other lodgings poor Johnny ,you must seek.
Johnny waked up the landlord,a room for to call.
Twenty of the new,John,and twenty of the old.
And Johnny he pulled out his two hands full of gold.

Oh’ I was only joking,John,I only spake my jest.
Without any exceptions she loves you the best.
In come Polly ,with a sparkling facexx .Straightway to Johnny,
And John she did embrace.

My green bed is empty,John,and you shall lay therein.
And early in the morning,married we will be,O’
When I had no money,my lodgings was to seek,
And before I’d lay within your house,
I’d lie out in the street.

Scholarly Classification

Brown, Older Ballads - Mostly British - 108 Randolph, 53 Laws, K 36 Cox, 124 Sharp, 58

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