MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
George's Banks
Frank Knox NFLD 2 Tape 19 Track 2
St. Shott's Audio:
Ballad

Sunbeams in crimson and shadows
He kissed his fair Flor-o on the bright happy morn
Our skipper he sailed from out of the harbour
Out upon Georgie's where there's sunshines and storms

Light blew the breeze as our good ship she parted
Out on the ocean where dangers arise
But sad was the heart that were left in the cottage
Won by a kiss on the cheek of his wife

Light danced our craft o'er the deep raging billows
Light-hearted fishermen joyful and gay
And while the young wife in her little brown cottage
Watches through the window at the speck on the sea

Sad was the mother but duty was urgent
When the heart from the cradle gave a loud wailing cry
Calmly she pressed her babe to her bosom
And sang it to sleep with a sweet lullaby

Three little babes must be clad for the winter
Six little feet must be kept from the cold
Three little hearts must be brought up in sunshine
Afraid they would suffer and never grow old

Time passed away as the mother grew weary
Tired from watching and waiting in vain
She knew that the father would never forsake them
Because he was patient and never complained

Out upon George's this vessel is lying
Deep in the sea many days she has been
And while the young wife in her little brown cottage
Watches and waits but waits all in vain

Cold lies his form in the depths of the ocean
Insects are breeding in the color of his charm
While the young wife in her little brown cottage
Hopeless awaiting her loved one's return

Many brave fishermen are sacrificed yearly
Out on the ocean where dangers arise
But God is a father and mother to those children
Help and pity those fishermen's wives


Notes

Sources: Roud 16964; Mercer 124 (cf Greenleaf 1965: 262); Leach 1965: 204: Peacock 1965: 916, 198, 1919 ("You Roving Boys of Newfoundland")

History: Probably of Newfoundland origin since known variants are from there, although there were many shipwrecks off George's Bank (located at the edge of the continental shelf between Cape Cod and Nova Scotia), and this one is not identified.

Text: Sung mostly from the perspective of a young wife (fair Flora) "in her little brown cottage" who sees her husband go to sea. She has three babes and waits for his return. But he is shipwrecked.

Tune: Sung very freely in triple metre to a variant of the tune that Greenleaf publishes (1968:260). The song form is abbca with the "b" phrases moving to the fifth degree of the major scale.

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