Maid on the Shore is an oddity. It’s a “virtue defended” plot, like Lovely Joan (but also the Broomfield Wager and Martinmas Time), in a particularly exaggerated tall-story form; there’s no real jeopardy or tension in this telling of the story, just one daft scene after another.
It’s a lot of fun to sing – not least because of the tune, which goes beyond intricate into weird. It’s fiddly to sing, but playing it is something else. When I first moved on from English to Irish dance tunes I was baffled by the way they all seemed to go up one way and down another. This tune takes it further – it doesn’t even come down in the same key it went up in. (I learned the tune by ear (and by touch), so I haven’t seen it written out, but I think I’m right in saying that it starts in C, goes into F, then back into C, then into G and then finishes back in C.) My original plan was to accompany myself ‘live’ on the concertina; my original plan didn’t survive my first attempt to play the tune.