MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada

The Golden Vanity

Performed by James Maher Accession # 78-054 NFLD 1 Tape 16 Track 4
Community: Flatrock Audio: Yes
Genre: Ballad / heroic cabin boy Child 286

Transcription

I have a ship called the Golden Vanity
And I'm afraid she will be captured by a Turkish galley
As she sails along the lowlands, lowlands low
As she sails along the lonesome sea

Then up speaks the Cabin boy of our gallant ship
"What will you give me captain if I sink that Spanish ship
If I'd sink her in the lowlands, lowlands
Oh, Sink her in the lonesome sea."

"I'll give you silver give you gold in store
And I'll give you my daughter Jane when we gets on shore
If you'd sink her in the lowlands, lowlands
Oh sink her in the lonesome sea."

The laddie took his augur and twas overboard went he
He swam to the side of the Turkish galley
And he sank her in the lowlands, lowlands
He sank her in the lonesome sea

Some were playing cards and some more were playing dice
The water it come up oh it dazzled all their eyes
As they sailed along the lowlands, lowlands
They sailed along the lonesome sea

He then swam back to our ship's side,
"Captain, captain, help me I am sinking with the tide
I am sinking in the lowlands, lowlands low
Oh I'm sinking in the lonesome sea."

"Oh, no," now said our captain, "such things could never be,
I'll whip you I will hang you I will drown you in the sea
I would sink you in the lowlands, lowlands
Oh, I'd sink you in the lonesome sea."

He then swam round to the starboard side
Saying, "shipmates will you help me oh I'm sinking with the tide
I am sinking in the lowlands, lowlands
Oh I'm sinking in the lonesome sea."

His shipmates took him in and twas on the deck he died
They put him in his hammock oh it was both long and wide
And they took him out again and lowered him o'er the side
As we sailed along the lowlands, lowlands
Oh we sailed along 'e lonesome sea

(speaks) That's it sir.


Notes

Sources:   Child #286; Mercer 126; Leach 44; Greenleaf 1968: 43; Karpeles 107; Roud 122.

History:

Text notes: The story of the cabin boy who sank an enemy ship by putting holes in the hull.

Tune notes: Most recorded performances are variants in a major key.  The number of phrases varies, however, from four to six (Bronson 1976: 501). James Maher's melody has a distinctive abcd pattern in which the "c" phrase ends on the lowest note and the "d" phrase starts an octave above.

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