In Canso Strait (Helen Creighton) MIDI

See also: The Drunken Captain (MacEdward Leach)

midi file

In Canso Strait our vessel lay,
We just arrived in from the bay;
Our vessel built both stout and strong,
To Gloucester she does belong.

We were homeward bound and ready for sea,
When our drunken captain got on a spree;
He came on board and to us did say,
"Get your anchor, lads, and fill her away!"

We filled her away at his command,
With all sails set we left the land;
Leaving Sand Point all on our lee,
As we sailed into a heavy sea.

The night came on and dark clouds lowered,
The wind did howl and breakers roared;
An angry squall and the angry sky,
It put her down at half-mast high.

We kindly asked him to shorten sail,
Or we'd all be lost in the heavy gale;
He cursed and swore if the wind would blow,
He'd show us how his boat could go.

"I am captain here and I will not fail,
For to shoot the first man to touch a sail."
Then up speaks one of our bravest men,
"There's nine of us right here at hand.

"We'll reef her down and to sea we'll go,
If he interferes, lash him down below;
We'll reef her down to a steady steer,
From those breaking waves as she disappears."

We're heading up the cape shore now,
As she knocks the white foam from her bow;
Our jib sheet tore, in the wind it flew,
We hauled it down and bent our new.

We were homeward bound with great success,
Like some lonely seagull seeking rest;
When I get home no more I'll sail,
With a drunken captain in a heavy gale.

####.... Variant of a North American ballad, In Casno [sic] Strait [Laws D52d] Native American Balladry, Appendix II (G Malcolm Laws, 1964) ....####
Collected in 1943 from Richard Hartlan of South-East Passage, Nova Scotia, by Helen Creighton [1899-1989] and published in Songs And Ballads From Nova Scotia (Dent, 1932; Dover, 1966).

Also sung in 1950 by Martin Reddigan [1903-1980] of Calvert, NL, and published as The Drunken Captain in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was also collected in 1958 from Levi Everett Bennett [1899-?] of St Paul's, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published as The Drunken Captain in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.871-872, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

From Wikipedia:
Canso Strait - a strait located in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada (also Gut of Canso; also called Straits of Canceau or Canseaux until the early 20th century). It divides the Nova Scotia peninsula from Cape Breton Island, and is a long thin channel approximately 27 kilometres long and averaging 3 kilometers wide (1 km at its narrowest). The strait connects Chedabucto Bay on the Atlantic Ocean to St George's Bay on the Northumberland Strait, a sub basin of the Gulf of St Lawrence. The strait is extremely deep (200+ feet) with two major communities at Port Hawkesbury on the eastern side facing Mulgrave on the western side, both ports. The strait is crossed by the Canso Causeway for vehicular and rail traffic, opened in 1955. The Canso Canal allows ships to pass through the causeway, and this can accommodate any vessel capable of transiting the St Lawrence Seaway.

See more songs about NFLD shipwrecks.


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