Sally Greer (Barry Taylor) MIDI

See also: Charming Sally Greer (Kenneth Peacock)

Oh, it being in the month of August,
18 hundred and thirty-three,
My parents they forced me
for to leave my count-r-y;
To leave this fair island
where my first breath I drew,
They forced me to Americay,
my fortune to pursue.

The reason that they banished me
I mean to let you hear,
Because I would not break my vows
I made unto my dear;
'twas on the Monarch of Aberdeen
from Belfast we bore down,
We hoisted English colours,
to Quebec we were bound.

Sailing on the ocean,
no danger did I fear,
My mind was on the one I love,
my charming Sally Greer;
The wind blew from the mountains,
it tossed us to and fro,
Our ship she struck against a rock,
to pieces she did go.

Oh, it was on St Paul's Island
for three long days we lay,
The cold ground being our bed,
and our covering was the sky;
Of 300 and fifty passengers,
only thirteen reached the shore,
The rest of them to the bottom went;
they sank to rise no more.

Success attend our captain,
and I will praise him true,
But for him and his bravery,
we'd have lost our whole ship's crew;
We lost our money and clothing
all by that dreadful wreck,
And were we not a sight to see
when we landed in Quebec.

It's now I'm in a strange country,
my sorrow to bewail,
No friends or relations
to hear my mournful tale;
But I hope to be in Ireland
before another year,
Where I can rove in splendour
with my charming Sally Greer.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a native American ballad, Sally Greer [Laws D39d] Native American Balladry, p.264, G Malcolm Laws (1964/1950) ....####
Collected by Barry Taylor and published online in The Great Canadian Tunebook.

A variant was also collected in 1960 by Kenneth Peacock from Mrs Mary Ann Galpin [1872-1962] of Codroy, NL, and published as Charming Sally Greer in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 2, pp.358-359, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Notes: St Paul's Island is located 13 miles northeast of Cape North, NS, and about 50 miles southwest of Cape Ray, NL. It is in the path of ships that use the Gulf of St Lawrence, and the waters that surround it are dangerous and deep. There is no real harbour or sheltered cove that would offer safe haven from a storm. Today it remains a serious menace to navigation and, like many other islands around the coast of Nova Scotia, it has taken more than its share of ships and men. Estimates are that 350 ships have gone ashore on its rocky coast and the list of lost lives is in the thousands.

See more NL shipwreck songs.


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