MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
The Wreck of the St. John
Francis O’Brien NFLD 2 Tape 3A Track 5
Trepassey Audio:
Ballad

Leach: All right.
O'Brien (sings):

Ye landsmen and ye seamen bold, come listen to what l write
Whilst crossing over those stormy seas, I’ve always took delight
While ye are on the shore, brave boys, it's little do ye know
What we poor seamen do go through, while stormy winds do blow.

You're always with your pretty, fair girls, telling to them fond tales
The hardest work that ever you done was reaping the cornfields
The wind came from the east southeast and bitterly did blow
The night was as dark as a dungeon, it was on a lee shore we came.

Our captain stood and gave orders his orders to obey
Go forward, my boys, without delay your fores'l to slack away
Our captain stood and gave orders for us was to be done
'Twas under a two reef fores 15 leagues to sea we run.

Early the next morning, we sighted a desperate shore
A vessel on her beam ends lay five leagues from Mt. Bedford run
Now we sailed all around her, passing all remarks we could
Two pumps before the mainmast and the roundhouse painted red.

The tower worked o'er the roundhouse and that proved very rare
With a goose neck on the end of it light as each man could stare
We boarded her next morning, we boarded her in haste
There was death in every station and staring us in the face.

There was two lives frozen to the pond (?), five more in her cabin besides
Like good seamen they done their work, like noble seamen died.
Some of our crew passed this remark, "There is other dooms, l know,
The fore course was cut from the fore yardarm to swivel on her bow."

And now we're on the shore, brave boys, it's It___________
And now we’re on the shore, brave boys, so lower your glass with rum
The widows must mourn for their husbands and the mothers for darling sons.


Notes


History: Newfoundland broadside ballad.

Text: A seaman tells his story of finding a shipwreck near Mt. Bedford Run.   His shipmates boarded the wreck and found the dead crew.

Tune: This minor tune in ABBA form is characterized by its lowered 6th and 7th degrees of the scale (harmonic minor).   The 'b' phrases are sung in the conventional higher range and the metre is 6/8.

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