MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
The Banks of the Clyde
Jack Swain NFLD 1 Tape 11 Track 6
Calvert Audio:
Ballad / dying soldier

On the banks of the Clyde stood a lad and a lassie
The lad's name was Gordie the lassie's was Jane
She threw her arms around him and cried do not leave me
For Geordie was going for to fight for his queen

She gave him a lock of her bright auburn tresses
He kissed her and pressed her once more to his heart
Till eyes spoke the love that her lips could not utter
The last word is spoken they kissed and depart

Over the burning plains of Egypt
Under the scorching sun
When he thought of the stories he'd have to tell
His love when the fight was won

He treasured with care that dear lock of hair
For his own darling Jenny he prayed
But his prayers were in vain she will ne'er see him again
Her lad in the Scotch brigade

Now the ocean divided the lad from his lassie
And Gordie was forced far away o'er the foam
His roof was the sky and his bed was the desert
But his heart with his Jenny was always at home

Now the morning that dawned on that famed day of battle
Found Gordie enacting a true hero's part
Till the enemy's bullet came into his billet
And it burned, oh, that dear lock of hair on his heart

Over the burning plains of Egypt
Under the scorching sun
When he thought on the stories he'd have to tell
His love when the fight was won

He treasured with care that dear lock of hair
For his own darling Jenny he prayed
But his prayers were in vain she will ne'er see him again
Her lad in the Scotch Brigade

On the banks of the Clyde dwelt a heart-broken mother
They told her of how the great victory was won
But the glory of England to her brought no comfort
For glory to her meant the loss of her son

But Jenny is with her to comfort and shield her
Together they'll weep and together they'll pray
And Jenny her daughter will be while she lives
For the sake of the lad who died far away


Notes

Sources: Mercer 97; Leach 320, cf Fowke 1994: 124 ("The Banks of the Claudy"); Randolph I: 233.

Leach also collected this (as "Geordie,") from Mrs. Maggie Luby of Tors Cove.

History: Scottish ballad, also widely collected in the U.S.

Text notes: Soldier carries a lock of his love's hair into battle. After his death, his mother and girlfriend console one another.

Tune notes: Triple metre; phrase repetition is abac.

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