MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Loss of the Atlantic
Pat Critch NFLD 2 Tape 11 Track 3
Flatrock Audio:
Ballad

(First recited, then first verse sung)

You feeling hearted Christians I pray you will draw near
It’s of a dreadful shipwreck l mean to let you hear
For the loss of the “Atlantic" upon the ocean wave
Where fully seven hundred souls met a deep and a watery grave

Bein' on the twentieth day o' March when first did we set sail
Bound to the harbour of New York wit’ a sweet and pleasant gale
We called next day at Queenstown as we always did before
Where we took on board three hundred souls their loss is to deplore

We steamed away for seven days wit’ out any dread or fear
For our good and gallant Captain right well his course did steer
When he had found to his dismay the coal was rather low
He shaped his course for Halifax, which proved our overthrow

Bein' on the fourth of April Sunday morning at three o'clock
When all on board were sunk in sleep she struck upon a rock
To hear the cries of deep despair ‘twould make your feelings creep
With a loud _____ of anguish they sunk down in the deep

Oh God it's hardest for to describe what they did suffer there
Men and women rushed on deck wit' wild cries of despair
Some climbed up the rigging so l have been told
And after hours of suffering they died there wit' the cold

Oh God its hard for to describe the struggle there for life
The mother parting from her child the husband from the wife
The breakers made the billows roar o'er the vessel's side they tore
Washed overboard the human bein's to sink and rise no more

One man escaped all in boat wit’ terror looked behind
Trembling there upon the deck he saw his wife so kind
Wit’ out my wife I cannot live 'long wit' her I will die
Hoping that we might meet again before the Lord on high

When the news had reached New York twould grieve your heart full sore
To see the people gather round for friends they'd meet no more
The officers of the White Star in crowds they did surround
To see if any tidings of the fond ones could be found

To see the old ag'd mother with grief she tore her hair
Will I never see forever more my loving daughters fair
Whilst the tender hearted sister in sorrow she do cry
Must my kind and tender brother in the ocean bosom lie

Likewise the old aged father wit' grief he tore his hair
Will I never see forever more my sons or daughters fair
For to conclude my dreary song there is one word more I’ll say
And that kind and tender message good Christians for them pray

You feeling hearted Christians l pray you will draw near
It is of a dreadful shipwreck that l mean to let you hear
For the loss of the Atlantic upon the ocean wave
Where fully seven hundred souls met a deep and a watery grave


Notes


Sources: Mercer 148; Peacock 1965:931, 933

Text: Describes the shipwreck of “The Atlantic,” the fate of seven hundred passengers and the grief of those awaiting her arrival in New York. The vessel struck a rock on her way to Halifax for coal. There is an invitational opening extended to “you feeling hearted Christians.”

Tune: Full text recited and then the first verse sung.

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