I first heard Marilyn sing this song, I Dreamed of Phoebe, a few years ago and was immediately captivated by it and Marilyn generously gave it to me to learn, and with all songs it is a pure joy to sing it. As with the “Folk Process” I have changed some of the words around but just a couple here and there. Marilyn is a great singer and musician and has written not only some other songs but some truly wonderful tunes as well, and to hear this with the combination of Marilyn, and the incomparable Iris Bishop is a real joy. Martyn

‘I dreamed of Phoebe’ written by Marilyn Bennett

I was inspired to write ‘I dreamed of Phoebe’ when researching Phoebe Hessel’s life for a play I was writing. Phoebe ended her life at 108 after many adventures, of which there are as many versions. She started it however in Stepney as a lovesick teenager who wanted to be with her lover Sam Golding. Sam had joined the Second Regiment of Foot and eventually fought in the Battle of Fontenoy. During this time he thinks often of Phoebe, so this is his song, a love song. The two, both wounded met again in Gibraltar where Phoebe, nursed Sam. Phoebe’s story whichever version you read is worth reading and I think that we can be sure that she rode in a carriage during the celebration in August 1821 for the celebration of the coronation of George IV, who granted her a pension. She died in December of that year.     Marilyn


Phoebe words and music by Marilyn Bennett

I dreamed I saw my Phoebe 

With her dark and her lovely eyes

And her loving arms around me 

That would drive away my fears.

And in her hair were flowers 

Their names she did not know 

But Phoebe I would tell her 

And the love in her eyes would glow.

We said that we‘d be married 

At the next Bartholomews Fair 

She would fashion me a jacket 

And I would braid her hair.

We’d talk for many hours 

Of the things that we would have 

But we had no gold between us 

Oh Phoebe what could I do. 

So to a nearby ale house 

The one called Swivel Eyed Joe’s 

I agreed to take the shilling 

And for honour to sea would go 

But honour dies too often 

And lies buried in the soil 

 But money stays in London 

As we poor boys know well. 

And now my heart is weary 

And dreams are not for real 

How I long to see my Phoebe 

She’s the one I love so well.

She has a way of laughing 

That would scare away the night 

And she has a way of smiling 

That fills my heart with light.

Now if I die of fever 

Or if I die of shot 

God leave her memory with me 

And she ne’er will be forgot