MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada

The Colour of Amber

Nicholas Davis NFLD 2 Tape 16 Track 7
St. Shott's Audio:

Oh the colour of Amber is my love’s hair
And her rosy cheeks do my heart ensnare
Her ruby lips so meek and mild(?)
Ofttimes l have pressed them to those of mine

As l sailed down the London Shore
Where the loud and the cannon balls they roar
In the midst of danger oftimes I’ve been
Ofttimes l have thought on you Mary Green

As l sailed down the London Shore
I kept writing letters o'er and o'er
I kept writing letters to you my dear
Out of all of them I received but one

If you wrote letters back to this town
Out of all of them l received but one
You’re false oh false love is none of mine
Don’t speak so hard of a sailmaker(?)

Straightway l went to her father’s house
And it’s on this fair maid l did call
Her father spoke me this reply
Sayin’ daughter dear don't you love the boy

I asked this father what he did mean
Or ___________ would his daughter married be
To some other young man to be a wife
For l will go farther and take a life(?)

Now since my love has a man received
A single life l will still remain
I will plough the seas till the day l die
I will split the waves __________________


Text: A sailor writes often to his sweetheart with the amber hair.   She replies only once.   Upon his return his fears of betrayal are confirmed as his love has married another. He swears to remain single and a sailor all his life.

Tune: The text is through composed and the melody repeats with each verse. The last few 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 5/4.   This is a major tune based around F/F# with an octave range.

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.