MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
City of Baltimore
George Hatfield NFLD 2 Tape 1A Track 1
Tors Cove Audio:

Leach: All right …Okay

Hatfield: (sings)

I'll tell you the saddest story that ever you wished to tell
Concerning Bold McCarthy in Liverpool town did dwell
Was down to old Northern docks one day he happened for to stray
On board of a stern ocean boat he stowed himself away

It’s up the river we were bound for New York town so far
McCarthy he being bore away all from his native shore
On board of a western ocean boat the city of Baltimore

When Jack came from his hiding place our mate to him did say
Come tell to me what brought you here l think you stowed away
And if you are a man this day it's me you'll stand before
I’ll fight you fair upon the deck in the City of Baltimore

Oh Jack he being a kind of green not knowing what to do
Frenchmen, Greek and Spaniards were the most part of her crew
Where is that Irish sonofabitch our mate to him did say
I’m here said bold McCarthy what do you want of me

Our mate he being a coward and before him would not stand
‘Twas with an iron b’laying pin at McCarthy then he ran
McCarthy being a smart young lad he laid him in his gore
He laid him senseless on the deck in the City of Baltimore

Our second mate and Boatswain ran to our mate's relief
McCarthy with a handspike he soon made them retreat
His Irish blood it began to boil and like a lion did roar
Sayin' I’ll fight any man stands _________ in the City of Baltimore

Our Captain being a Scotchman Mc_____ McDolan called by name
And we heard all of the row it's forward then he came
When seen what McCarthy done he laid him in his gore
Saying you're the best man stands on the deck in the City of Baltimore

It's true l am an Irishman the same I’ll never deny
Sooner than be called down by them I’ll fight until l die
His Irish blood began to boil and like a lion did roar
I’ll fight any man stands for'ard or aft in the City of Baltimore

Come aft unto my Cabin come aft along with me
Come aft unto my Cabin it is treated well you'll be
Come aft unto my Cabin and I’ll ask of you no more
I’ll make you my mate and Boatswain on the City of Baltimore


Sources: Laws K26; Doerflinger, 128-129; Greenleaf/Mansfield,174; Peacock, 860-861; Smith/Hatt, 46; Creighton-NovaScotia, 58; Roud #1800; for more sources see The Traditional Ballad Index ( ).

History: Newfoundland broadside ballad.

Text: An Irishman named Jack McCarthy stows himself away on a ship called The City of Baltimore that is heading for New York City.   When the mate discovers McCarthy, he fights him with a belaying pin but is defeated.   The second mate and boatswain run to their mate's aid but are also defeated by McCarthy.   The Scottish Captain of the vessel, impressed with McCarthy's Irish spirit and vigour, offers him employment as mate and boatswain.

Tune: This text is set to a major melody with a lilting 6/8 metre.   The form is ABBA with the conventional higher range for the 'b' phrases.   All stanzas have four lines except for the second verse; it has only three and follows an ABA form.

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.