MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Caroline of Edinburgh Town
Mike Molloy NFLD 2 Tape 18 Track 2
St. Shott's Audio:

Come all young men and maidens give ear unto my rhyme
For it concerns a damsel that was scarcely in her prime
She beats the blushing roses and was admired by all around
'Twas comely young Caroline of Edinburgh town

Young Henry was a highland's man a-courting her he came
'Twas from his father's dwelling house this young man came straightway

LEACH: press de button; all right now do it
MOLLOY: On the first of it?
LEACH: Anywhere...anywhere. Begin where you stopped or at the beginning. MOLLOY:(sings)

Young Henry was a highland's man a-courting her he came
And when her parents came to know they did not like the same
Young Henry he was offended and this to her did say
Arise my dearest Caroline and with me come away

Unto London we will go and there we'll wed with speed
And beautiful young Caroline we'll have happiness indeed
Thus enticed by Henry she put on her over-gown
And away went young Caroline of Edinburgh town

Over hills and lofty mountains together they did roam
And at length in London they carries (?) from their home
She says now dearest Henry never on me frown
Or you'll break the heart of Caroline of Edinburgh town

They had not been in London more than a half a year
When hard-hearted Henry to her he proved severe
Cries Hen-e-ry I'll go to sea your parents did on me frown
So make your way without delay to Edinburgh town

The fleet are setting out tonight and the dew is dropping down
And l will go and join the fleet to fight for king and crown
Those jolly __________ may feel the sword or in the ocean drown
But yet I never will return to Edinburgh town

Concealed beneath a spreading oak this maid sat down to cry
A-watching of those gallant ships as they would pass her by
She gave three cries for Henry and plunged her body down
And a floating went young Caroline of Edinburgh town

A note likewise a locket was picked up on the shore
And in the note a lock of hair those words: l am no more
I'm in the deep now fast asleep as the fish go swimming 'round
Once comely young Caroline of Edinburgh town


Sources: Roud 398; Laws P 27; Henry H 148: 411; cf. Mercer 107 (“Caroline and her Young Sailor Bold” (Laws N17). If this is right it is also in Peacock 1965: 329 and Leach 1965: 94. Lehr 1985: 27.

History: Mid-19th century Scottish broadside.

Text: Henry courts Caroline and, although her parents oppose the union, they run off to London together. But after half a year, he leaves her join the fleet. She drowns herself in grief.

Tune: Dorian mode (6 tones without the six scale degree) tune delivered melismatically. Metre is quadruple, but some notes are rhythmically stretched. Form is aa’ba. This performance is more extended and has a different tune from the one published in Lehr (from Mike Keough of Plate Cove). (The Ballad Index cross references the tune “Crossing the Plains”).

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