MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Greenland Disaster
Jim Rice NFLD 1 Tape 7A Track 3
Cape Broyle Audio:
Newfoundland Ballad / sealing disaster

Sad comes the news from over the seas,
From over the troubling main,
It fills the heart of those he loved,
With sorrow and with pain,
For to fill the hearts of those he loved
With sorrow and with pain.

Oh the Greenland sailed the tenth of March,
Our hearts in happy …
Our crew in spirits gay,
So brisk upon the barracade as she steamed out that day,
As she steamed out that day,
So brisk upon the barracade as she steamed out that day.

And with a crew of fine young men,
who left in spirits light,
Not thinking that they should pass off,
On that fearful cold March night,
Not thinking that they should pass off,
On that fearful cold March night.

We struck the field St. Patrick's day,
And then the work began,
With fourteen thousand heist on board,
Seven thousand more did pan,
Seven thousand more did pan,
While fourteen thousand they heist on board
Seven thousand more they panned.

Sad comes the news from over the seas,
Until the thirty-first of March,
Four watches left that day,
A blinding snowstorrn soon came on and they got cast away.

There's two young Quidi Vidi boys,
There's Chillie and Court Down
There' s William Collins from Torbay,
And two from St. John's town,
The others are from the Nothern Bays,
And six from Harbour Grace,
All on that wild and terrible night,
A fearful death did face,
A fearful death did face,
Along that wild and terrible night,
A fearful death did face.
But may the great almighty God their troubles to make light,
For to ease the broken hearts of those,
Who lost their friends that night.


Notes

Sources: Mercer 128; cf. Peacock, 926, Recorded on Songs of the Newfoundland Outports and Labrador (2003);   Greenleaf 1968: 299; Doyle 1940: 40. Roud 4080.

History: Newfoundland song. The ship, the Greenland , was built in Ireland in 1872. In March 1898, her crew perished when they were stranded on the ice while sealing.

Text notes: The singer describes the tragic sealing disaster.

Tune notes: This tune is a variant of the one published by Peacock; they start and end the same but have different middle phrases.

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