MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Peter Amberly
Pat Murphy NFLD 1 Tape 11A Track 4
Calvert Audio:
Ballad / lumbering disaster Laws C27

Leach: (speaks) Alright she's goin'

My name is Peter Amberly as you may understand
Born on Prince Edward Island that fair and happy land
In eighteen hundred and ninety-two and flowers in their full bloom
I left my native country my fortune to pursue

I landed in New Brunswick that lumbering country
I hired to go in the lumbering woods which proved my destiny
I hired to go in the lumbering woods where they cut those tall pines down
And loading tow-sleds by the yard I received my mortal wound

Here's adieu unto my father as he had drove me here
I did not like his treatment I thought it too severe
Now a father should not press his son or try to keep him down
For it oftentimes makes them leave home when they are far too young

Here's adieu unto my nearer friend I mean my mother dear
She reared a son how soon he fell when he left her tender care
But little did my mother think when she sang for her boy
What country I would travel through or what a death would die

Here's adieu unto my younger friend that Island girl so true
May she live to enjoy her happiness where I my first breath drew
The world may go round just the same as it has done before
What signal finds one mortal soul when death comes at the door

Here's adieu unto Prince Edward Island the garden on the sea
No more I'll walk the flowery streets to enjoy a summer breeze
No more I'll watch those gallant ships as they go passing by
With colours flying in the air above all canvas high

The danger on the ocean where angry billows roar
The danger on the battlefield where angry bullets fly
The danger in the lumber woods where death deems silent there
Where I had fell a victim to this great monster fair

Now comrades I am dying I have one more word I crave
Some good and holy clergyman to bless my peaceful grave
Being near the city of Boiestown where my poor body lay
I'm waiting for our Saviour's call all on the judgement day


Notes

Sources: Alternate spelling for title is "Peter Emberley"; Mercer 342; Laws   NAB, C27; Ryan 1; Cazden i: 52 and ii:9; Creighton (1971) 231; Dibblee and Dibblee 33; Fowke (1970) 127; Ives (1989) 99; MacKinnon and Belsher 18; Manny and Wilson 160. Recorded by Omar Blondahl in 1967 for Melbourne (AMLP 4007); Taft 58.  Recorded by John Cousins on When Johnny Went Plowing for Kearon (1976). Roud 668.

History: Composed by lumberman John Calhoun of Parker's Ridge, New Brunswick in the winter of 1881, about Prince Edward Island. Although it is widely known in Atlantic Canada, Ives notes that few were able to sing it for him and he wonders if it is considered a "bad-luck song" (Ives 1999: 233).

Text notes: The singer recounts the story of a lumberman's death in the woods and expresses sorrow for those left behind.

Tune notes: Quadruple metre, major scale, abba 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.