MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
George's Banks
Gordon Walters NFLD 2 Tape 7 Track 2
Trepassey Audio:

LEACH: All right... now let her go, all sixteen verses.
WALTERS (sings):

Come all ye rovers of Newfoundland who have in mind to roam
To cross the wide and stormy seas far from your native home
And if you do be sad b'y I’ll have you to understand
That you'll stay on shore and won't roam no more from your home in Newfoundland

We first set sail for Halifax our fortune there to find
To work there on a riverboat our wages were inclined
Ail night to lie on the cold ground, which niggers could not stand
Cruel was the fate that sent us from our homes in Newfoundland

We next set sail fro Bos-

(Speaks) no I’m wrong now and that spoils the record do it?
WALTERS: I’m wrong on that altogether

We next set sail for Liverpool from that to Boston town
And seeking for employment there we wandered up and down
The work it being a kind of scarce in Gloucester we did appear
And shipped on board of the Morning bloom for George's banks did steer

We anchored on those George's Banks November the twenty-two
It’s my intention to relate the hardships we went through

(Speaks): My God!

For the wind came from the east northeast with bitter cold showers
And the wind came from the East Northeast most violently of snow did blow

Next morning the sights to meet your eyes was dismal for to view
For the storm it held increasing how fast the wind it blew
While vessels of the noblest moulds were sinking all around
And twenty-two with their ___________ crew on George's that day went down

To hear those half froze fishermen, as they would pass you by
To hear their remarks of wild despair and hear their feeble cry
Oft-times yet while in my dreams l think l hear them yet
And the horrors of those George's banks l never will forget

The hardships of those George’s banks no penman can put down
The circulating (?) shifting sands and breakers all around
I fished both east and west my b'ys through storms and wintertime
But there’s none can compare with George's banks should all their force combine

But providence proved kind to us we had a change of wind
We cut our cables from the bow left George’s banks behind
And by our Captain's orders our vessel it crowded sail
And for four long days and nights my boys we ran her before the gale

(Speaks) I’m forgettin’ the rest of her. (Laughter)


Sources: Also known as "Fifteen Ships on George's Banks" and "George's Bank II." Laws D3; Greenleaf/Mansfield, 129; Leach, pp. 781-783

History: Newfoundland ballad.

Text: Newfoundlanders set sail to find work.   They travel to Halifax, Boston, and Liverpool but work is scarce.   The boat anchors at George's Banks in November and storm hits.   Many men freeze to death.

Tune: This minor tune, set to a lilting 6/8 metre, is characterized by a descending scale pattern in lines one and four.   The form is a classic arch-shaped ABBA.


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