I’m bad at poetry.
Let the wind blow high and low my boys let the seas run mountains high
It is the seamen’s duty the helm to stand by
After a month or two–maybe three–I realized that the narrator need not be any kind of sailor. In fact, the chorus can be understood as a straightforward analogy: that the lover should not abandon his love no matter what treatment he gets. All that time I had taken the chorus to be merely some phrases to conjure a general sense of lonely, desolate resolution. I’m sure this connotation is entirely appropriate, but I don’t know why I missed the more direct bearing the chorus had on the whole point of the song.
I’ll also confess that I had trouble at first with “The first time that I saw my love I was sick and feeling bad,” because, clearly, the first time that he saw his love he was out roving, not lying on his death bed. I got over that a little quicker, though.
Hey–maybe she wasn’t really wearing a golden dress!