Carolan Anderson (Eric West)

There's many a young man leaves his home,
his mother to him dear,
"Oh Carolan, dear son,
please stay home and do not go away."
Her boy so true to her breast she drew
which tore her heart with grief,
It was on that day he sailed away
to the land of maple leaf.

He sailed out to the eastward
from the westward of the shore,
He sailed out to Cape Breton's Isle
where Atlantic seas do roar;
'Twas little did he ever think
when he left his home that day,
That the murdering of young Osborne
would take his life away.

His money had not long been gone
when his friends were but a few,
For three long days and three long nights
he knew not what to do;
He called young Osborne to his room
and struck him on the head,
He rustled through his pockets
as he lay there on the bed.

'Twas early the next morning
he made his escape from town,
Being hired to work in a lumbering camp,
he said his name was Brown;
The police were quickly notified
to find him without bail,
It was less than three weeks after
he was locked in Sydney jail.

He called this young man to his room
and this to him did say,
"Young man, you're a stranger in this land
and what brought you this way?"
"I am a British young man,
I'm known by one and all,
Carolan Anderson is my name,
I belong to Montreal."

The judge he tried to save him
and very hard did try,
The jury found him guilty
which meant that he must die;
He called this young man to his room
and this to him did say:
"Young man, for the murdering
you must die on the twenty-fourth of May."

The day of his execution,
'twas little did he fear,
He talked and joked with friends he knew
who happened to be there;
He wrote a farewell message
and this is what it read:
"Oh, mother, I've broken your poor old heart,
and tomorrow I'll be dead."

"If only we could meet again,
how happy I would be,
For once I was a little boy
who'd sit upon your knee;
But God he willed it not be
and I had to face my foe,
Here's adieu unto you, mother dear,
I'm afraid we'll meet no more."

Come all young men, take my advice
before it is too late,
Don't be like Carolan Anderson
who met with his sad fate;
Outside the city of Sydney
where his mouldering bones they lay,
May the Lord have mercy on his soul
on the great judgement day.

####.... Author unknown ....####

Collected by Eric West in 1978 from Mrs Harold (Bride) Rose [1917-?] of Red Island, Merasheen and Freshwater, NL, and deposited in the Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA 79-1, ms p. 23, tape C3842).

Note: Although these events took place in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, the ballad has only been found in Newfoundland.
~ Janet McNaughton, Canadian Journal For Traditional Music, 1984.


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