MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Straight Foreign Shore
Unidentified Singer NFLD 2 Tape 11A Track 2
St. Vincent's Audio:
Ballad

SINGER: If l tried to t'ink l might t'ink of one
LEACH: All right let’s have that straight foreign shore
SINGER: Hold on now till l get d'air of it. No use to sing it wit'out d'air, you wants the right air of it.
LEACH: unh huh.
SINGER: Mary! She’s gone out. I have d'air of it.
LEACH: All right, let her go.
SINGER: (sings)

As we ‘ave sailed down the straight foreign shore
Where cannons do rattle and loud billows roar
We spied lofty admirals ship came ploughing o'er the main
Which caused us to rise up our topsails again

We spied a lofty admiral's ship came ploughing o'er the main
Which caused us to rise up our topsails again

Oh boy let us be lucky oh boys let us be true
To face our own enemy sure we must pursue
If they should overtake us out on the ocean wide
Wit'out hesitation give them a broadside

Oh broadside for broadsides as good as we could send
To sink one another it was our whole intent
The very second broadside our Captain he got slain
And this damsel she stepped up in his place to remain

They fought for three hours in a battle severe
There scarce was a man on board could hand reef or steer
We scarce (?) had a man on board could fire off a gun
While the blood through our scupper hales like water did run

Oh quarters oh quarters those French dogs did cry
No quarters no quarters this damsel she replied
You have the best of quarters that l can you afford
You may fight sink or die b'ys or jump overboard

Oh now she is returning to old England wit’ speed
The king he did not know his own true love indeed
Nor she did not make herself known unto him
Till she tied up her ship me b’ys and paid off her men

Oh now she' s going to be married the truth we will make known
The king he do allow her ten dozen pounds in gold
The queen she do allow her ten thousand rounds a year
Because she have fought in a battle severe


Notes


Text: In a fierce broadside battle between ships the captain is killed. A woman steps up in his place and gets the ship home. She is then paid a veteran’s pension.

Tune: Text is through composed and the melody repeated. This singer hums to himself before starting the song. The last two words are spoken. Speaking, instead of singing a final word or phrase is generally thought to indicate Irish influence on the singer or song. The meter is 6/8, the key is A major with a range of an octave.

All material on this webpage is copyright © 2004, Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive, Memorial University of Newfoundland. No unauthorized copying or use is permitted. For more information, follow this link.