MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada

Daniel Monroe

Performed by Monica Rossiter Accession # 78-054 NFLD 1 Tape 7A Track 5
Community: Cape Broyle Audio: Yes
Genre: Ballad / mistaken identity Laws J12

Transcription

You sons of Great Britain who once had been wild,
For to view foreign countries and places of bad times,
When amongst their numbers stood Daniel Monroe,
And he from his country was forced for to go.

The two sons with their uncle was forced for to stay,
For the price of your passage I'm not able to pay,
The price of your passage which on you would be dear,
So take my advice and stay home with me here.

The two boys seemed downhearted and troubled in mind,
For the thought of their father ran strong in their mind,
They shipped on the ocean to sail over the main,
In hopes for to find their own father again.

When they reached America they landed those boys,
Surrounded by ruffians one very side,
And with humble submission those two brothers went,
Unto their own Captain and to ask his consent.

As they walked along together those words they did say,
If we only could see our own father today,
I'm sure he'd be delighted when he see us so near,
And to ask of our sailing which he never shall hear.

They advanced a little further till they came to a grove,
Where the trees leaves and branches all seemed for to move,
And there stood two ruffians aloft in the wood.
They presented their pistols where the two brother's stood,

They lodged their two bullets into their white breasts
And rushed on their trail like two ravenous beasts,
For to rob all their money and to strip all their clothes,
Finding they had nothing they gave them some blows.

One youth lay expired as he lifted his eyes,
You hard hearted ruffians approaching he cried,
You hard hearted ruffians and you bloodthirsty hounds,
Oh why did you kill us till at once we had found.

Found out our own father whom we love so dear,
We never had seen him for seven long years,
He left us in scotland seven, twelve, months ago,
And perhaps you may know him his name is Monroe.

And who is that young man that lies by your side,
Who is that young man approaching he cried,
He's my youngest brother and he's your youngest son,
And he cursed his hard fortune for what he had done.

The father gazed on him with tears in his eye,
The old man gazed on them with a look of surprise,
Curse be to my arms I have murdered my son,
And the case wouldn't be so bad If I shot only one.

Oh father dear father now take my advice,
Leave off of rebellions in time and be wise,
In hopes we may meet on some happier shore,
Where you won't be able to kill us no more.


Notes

Sources: Mercer 111 ("Donald Munroe"); Laws J 12; Greenleaf 1968: 318; Leach 110; Peacock 812; Recorded by Ned Rice, Cape Broyle, NL, for Columbia (SL 211) in 1951; Taft 42; Creighton 124; Roud 521.

History: Peacock and Creighton both note a Scottish chap-book of 1778 as a source. Another broadside was printed by James Wright of Edinburgh (Peacock 816).

Text notes: Munroe leaves his homeland for America, while his young sons stay behind. Later as British soldiers in America, one (or both, in some variants) of the sons are killed by a band of rebels among whom is their father who is unaware of the soldier's identity.

Tune notes: Rossiter's performance (in triple metre and "abba" form) ressembles the third tune (tune "C") published by Peacock; note that it was also recorded in Cape Broyle. On the other hand, the melody sung by Eddy Primroy constitutes a fourth variant, albeit one with a similar contour, but now heterometric.

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