The Irish Sailor Boy (MacEdward Leach)

My parents raised me tenderly,
having no child but me,
But I being bent on roving at home,
I could not stay;
Both day and night they took delight,
I was their only joy,
When first to roam I left my home,
cried the Irish sailor boy.

I was but fourteen years of age
when first went to sea,
My parents they shed tears for me
when I was going away;
I can't relate those sorrows great
when wishing them good-bye,
From Waterford quay we sailed away
for the Irish sailor boy.

We scarce being eighteen days at sea
when a storm rose at hand,
Our captain cries, "Look out, my boys,
we soon must see the land."
Our goodly ship rolled through the deep
that night she struck a rock,
And my young heart, for the very first time,
received a dreadful shock.

Our goodly ship rolled through the deep,
the water came in fast,
We scarce had time to launch a boat
when the pieces went awreck;
We were tossed about for three long days
upon the ocean wide,
Until the morning of the fourth
'twas land our captain spied.

It was the coast of Newfoundland,
the first land that was seen,
To see its cragged rocks so steep
to Erin's shores so green;
We cruised along those cragged rocks,
they looked so awful steep,
We could not find one place to land,
the water run so deep.

Some of our crew, being brisk and brave,
they landed safe on shore,
We only saved 'bout twelve of them
out of the twenty-four;
Our captain, he being one of them,
his precious life to save,
For ever and ever we'll sound his praise,
he so nobly did behave.

We wandered 'round by moonlight
to a little footpath green,
And early the next morning
St Peter's town was seen;
It was there we got both bread and meat,
likewise in a bed to lie,
We found kind friends in Newfoundland,
cried the Irish sailor boy.

We were put on board a fast sailing ship
bound for Erin's shore,
Forever and ever we'll sound the praise,
we will forevermore;
And if I do reach home again
I'll look for work on shore,
I'll sound the praise of Newfoundland
and go to sea no more.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland ballad ....####
Sung in 1950 by Nicholas (Nick) Paddy Maher [1893-?] of Flatrock, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was sung by Lar Pitcher of Merasheen, NL, and published for the 1980 Merasheen Reunion in Placentia Bay, NL, by Loyola Pomroy and William (Bill) Wilson Jr [1931-1993] of Meerasheen, NL.


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