MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada

The Loss Of The Guernsey

Mike Welsh NFLD 2 Tape 15 Track 1
Fermeuse Audio:

LEACH: All right, let her go.
WELSH: (sings)

In nineteen hundred and thirty four December the fourth day
The ill-fated schooner Guernsey from Trepassey sailed away
Wit' fish and oil on board of her as she sailed down for the shore
Commanded by Thomas Devereaux who will never be seen no more

The wind came from the west Nor’west and blowing very light
Which caused this little schooner for to be out all night
If it had to blow a fresher breeze this sad tale I would not tell
She might by chance have made Fermeuse and anchored safe as well

But she ploughed slowly on her way the wind still holding light
She was somewhere off of Chance Cove at the hour of midnight
The wind came from the East Sout'east and vi'lent it did blow
And then to make the matter worse the sky fell thick wit’ snow

Some think she run for Ferryland that dark and stormy night
All hands were at their station in hopes to see the light
But suddenly it came to grief they think she struck the shore
Three smart young men from Trepassey will see their homes no more

It was early the next morning when daylight came around
The wreckage of the Guernsey in Calvert it was found
Some think she struck Stone Island but this l cannot say
It is a myst'ry will remain unsolved until the judgement day

Before I’ll go any farther those names I’ll tell to you
There was Master Thomas Devereaux and his brother Lawrence too
Mike Curtis their first cousin a lad most smart and brave
Three smart young men from Trepassey did meet a wat'ry grave

When the Dev'reaux boys they left their homes no more for to return
They left a loving brother and two sisters for to mourn
Mike Curtis being the other member of the ill-fated Guernsey's crew
Left a brother and a sister and an old aged mother too

Oh God the ruler of the sea and the saviour of mankind
Which leads the dreadful sorrow of the dear ones left behind
Your heart would melt wit’ pity if you heard their mournful cry
And in their sad bewailments wit them we'll sympathize

Come all ye people please offer up a prayer for those poor b'ys
Whose bodies are still rolling beneath the ocean tide
We will meet again on judgement day for that is truly said
When the ocean will give up its prey and the grave give up its dead

(last six words spoken)


Text: December 4, 1934 the schooner The Guernsey left Trepassey and wrecked off Calvert. Two brothers and a cousin from Trepassey were lost. The last verse is a “Come All Ye” invitation to pray for the sailors souls.

Tune: The text is through composed and the melody repeats with each verse. The last word is 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 4/4 and the key is B major.

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