The Flying Cloud (MacEdward Leach) video
#1417: YouTube video by hultonclint
©2010 ~ Used with permission ~

Come all you rambling sailor boys,
Come listen unto me,
I'm heavy bound in irons strong,
To die for piracy;
With eighteen more I am condemned
In sorrow to complain,
For plundering and burning ships
Down on the Spanish Main.

When I was young and innocent,
My heart it knew no guile,
In happy home I lived content,
My parents on me smiled;
But drinking and bad company
Has made a wreck of me,
Take warning, all, by my downfall
And beware of piracy.

My name is Edward Anderson,
As you might understand,
I belong to the town of Waterford
In Erin's lovely land;
My parents raised me tenderly,
In the fear of God likewise,
'Twas little I thought I would die in scorn
'Neath Cuba's sunny skies.

My father bound me to a trade
In Waterford's fair town,
He bound me to a cooper
Whose name was William Brown;
I served my master faithfully
For eighteen months or more,
Then I shipped on board of the Ocean Queen,
Bound to Valparaiso's shore.

It happened in Valparaiso,
I fell in with Captain Moore,
He commanded the clipper Flying Cloud,
Sailing out of Baltimore;
I hired out for to sail with him
On a slavery voyage to go,
To the bonny shores of Africa
Where the sugar cane do grow.

We soon tossed over those raging seas
And landed safe on shore,
Five hundred of those poor souls
From their country homes we tore;
We dragged their bodies to our decks
And stowed them well below,
And eighteen inches to a man
Was all we had to stow.

We then weighed anchor and went to sea,
Our cargo all of slaves,
It had been better for those poor souls,
If they had gone to their graves;
The plague fever came on board,
Swept half of them away,
We dragged their bodies to our deck
And threw them in the sea.

It being a short time after that,
We reached the Arabian Shore,
We sold them to a planter,
They were slaves forevermore;
To toil in the rice and sugar fields
Beneath the burning sun,
To drag away their wretched lives
Till their career was run.

It's when our money was all spent,
We went on board again,
And Captain Moore called us on deck
And said to us his men:
"There's gold and plenty to be had
All for thee on the main,
And if you'll agree, my bully crew,
I'll tell you how it's gained.

"We have as fast a sailing ship
As ever skimmed the seas,
Or as ever set a maintop sail
Before a heavy breeze;
And if you'll agree, my bully crew,
And with me do remain,
We'll run aloft a pirate flag
And scour the Spanish Main."

We all agreed but five bold youth
Who told us then to land,
Two of them were Boston men
And two from Newfoundland;
The other being an Irishman
Belonging to Tramore,
How I wish I had joined those men
And landed safe on shore.

The Flying Cloud was a clipper barque,
Five hundred tons or more,
She could easily sail around any ship,
Sailing out of Baltimore;
I've often seen that goodly ship
With the wind abaft the beam,
With her oil and stern sails set aloft,
Taking sixteen from the reel.

Her sails were white as the driven snow,
On them there wasn't a speck,
Seventy-five brass-mounted guns
She carried on her deck;
With iron chests and magazines
Stored safely down below,
She had long Tom between her masts,
On a swivel did he go.

We were often chased by man-o'-wars
And ofttimes by frigates, too,
But to overhaul our goodly ship
It was more than they could do;
Sail all in vain astern of us
Their cannons roared aloud,
They could not by any means at all
Overhaul the Flying Cloud.

We robbed and plundered many a ship
Down on the Spanish Main,
Left many a widow and an orphan child
In sorrow to complain;
We caused the crew to walk the plank
That hung out over our rail,
The saying of our captain was,
Dead men tells no tales.

So fare you well, sweet Waterford,
And the girl I loved so dear,
Her voice like music soft and sweet
I never more shall hear;
I never more shall kiss her rosy cheek
Nor press her lily-white hand,
For it's on the gallows I must die
By the laws of the Spanish Land.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a British broadside anti-piracy ballad, The Flying Cloud, [Laws K28] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957) ....####
Collected in 1950 from Alexander March [1865-1953] of Port au Port, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

Two other, less complete, variants were also collected by MacEdward Leach. One in 1950 from Gerald Aylward of Cape Broyle, NL, and another in 1951 from John C (Jack) Molloy [1864-1955] of St Shott's, NL, also published 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 1951 by Kenneth Peacock from Howard Morry of Ferryland, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 3, pp.842-845, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A variant was also recorded by Tommy Nemec singing acapella the songs he heard sung by his grandfather, John P Myrick [1900-1984] with Thomas (Tom) Finlay [1885-?] at house parties in St Shotts and on Cape Pine, NL (Songs From The Cape, trk#2, 2003, Backcove Music, St John's, NL, recorded at the Cape Pine Lightstation).

A variant was collected and published in Collier's, NL, by M P Ryan on pages 2 through 5 of his 1957 book Ryan's Favourites: Old Songs Of Newfoundland.

The video above features a solo acapella variant performed by Ranzo, the YouTube Chanteyman, of Hartford, CT, from Stan Hugill's Shanties From The Seven Seas, 1979, pp.585-586, Routledge, c/o Taylor & Francis Group, London, UK.

Kenneth Peacock noted that much mystery surrounds the origins of this ballad. The Flying Cloud was built in 1851 and became famous for her speedy voyage of eighty-nine days from New York to San Francisco around Cape Horn. She had absolutely nothing to do with the events described in this ballad. Obviously, her famous name was used to add more glamour to an earlier ballad of piracy and slave-trading. Or perhaps by a strange coincidence the earlier ship was also named the Flying Cloud, and their histories became hopelessly confused.


Index Page
GEST Songs Of
Newfoundland And Labrador


~ Copyright Info ~

~ Privacy Policy ~

Confirm Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Here