MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
The Lass of Swansea Town
Mr. Tom Pennell NFLD 2 Tape 5A Track 5
Trepassey Audio:

LEACH: Let her go
TOM PENNELL (sings):

'Twas down by Swansea Barracks all alone one morning strayed
A-viewing of the soldiers l spied a pretty maid
'Twas down her pretty rosy cheeks the tears they did roll down
She appeared to be some goddess fair the lass of Swansea town

I says my pretty fair maid what brings you weeping here
She said kind sir I'm weeping for a bonny soldier dear
Eight years ago he left me for Bermuda he was bound
And he vowed he would prove faithful to the lass of Swansea town

I says what was your true loves name before he went away
My love's name it was William of the Royal blue so gay
Through High Street and Wine Street with me oft times walked down
And he vowed he would prove faithful to the lass of Swansea town

If William was your true loves name sad news l have to tell
He was my life's (?) comrade and in a battle fell
A cannon ball caused him to fall, which gave him his death wound
And he asked me to protect you the lass of Swansea town

They stood gazing at each other till he took her in his arms
Kind fortune it will favour you love don't be alarmed
By what token would you know him if again he would be found
I'm in a trance young man she cries the lass of Swansea Town

When my dear William left me he was handsome young and fair
His cheeks were red and his eyes were blue and coal black was his hair
He had a scar on his left breast where he received a wound
In fighting for his country cries the lass of Swansea town

And when she had recovered up from the ground he rose
His coat he then threw open and the scar he did expose
She knew her love right instantly again fell fainting down
She was overcome with joy the lass of Swansea town

On one fine summer' s evening those couple oft did walk
Along the road together they in contentment talked
In a cottage by the seaside where happiness is found
Dwells young William of the Royal Blue and the lass of Swansea town


Sources : Peacock, 1965: 547-548; Roud #1416

From the Memorial University Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA) Song Index and Song Annotation Collection: Halpert, Herbert and Nicholas Halpert MUNFLA 66-23; Halpert, Herbert and John Widdowson MUNFLA 66-24; Tucker, John MUNFLA 68-34; Numec, Thomas MUNFLA 69-36; Burke, Frances Anne 78-274

History : Found before 1842 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(2071)); Newfoundland broadside ballad.

Text: Lovers are reunited after William has been at war for eight years.   She recognizes him as her true love only after he shows her the identifying scar on his left breast.

Tune: A Dorian mode melody in ABBA form.   The 'b' section is higher than the 'a' section.   The metre is 6/8.

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