New York Trader (Kenneth Peacock)

A New York trader I do belong,
A bloomin' vessel built stout and strong,
Well-rigged, well-manned, well-fit for sea,
Bound to New York and Americay.

Our captain's name was William Gore,
Our crew amounted to thirty-four,
With hearts undaunted we sailed away,
Bound to New York and Americay.

We were not long sailing over the deep,
When the first of our sorrows we chanced to meet;
The half of our ship's company,
Was seized with sickness most suddenly.

One night our captain in his cabin lay,
When a voice came to him and this did say:
"Prepare yourself and ship's company
For tomorrow night you must lie with me."

Our captain woke in a dreadful fright,
Being at the hour of twelve in the night,
And to our bo's'n did loudly call,
Unto him related his secrets all:

"When I in Wexford town did dwell,
I killed my wife the truth I'll tell;
I killed my wife and my children three,
All through the means of cursed jealousy.

"And it's on my servant I laid the blame,
He was hung and quartered all for the same."
"Now cruel captain, if this be so,
I pray let none of our ship's crew know.

"Now cruel captain, if this be so,
I pray let none of our ship's crew know.
But keep the secret close in your breast,
And pray to God for to grant you rest."

The sea washed over us both fore and aft,
Until scarce a man on our deck was left,
Our main mast split and our sail was torn,
The like was never known there before.

Until our bo's'n he did declare,
That our captain he was a murderer,
Which soon alarmed our whole ship's crew,
And they threw our captain overboard too.

No sooner than this deed was done,
The wind came down and began to lun,
When the wind came down and it calmed the sea,
And we sailed safe to Americay.

And when we came to an anchor there,
Our goodly ship for to repair,
The people amazed, such a sight to see,
A poor disabled ship-wrecked crew were we.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of late 18th-century British broadside ballads, Captain Glen / The Guilty Sea Captain [Laws K22] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957). Also a variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad, New York Trader, published by T Birt (London) between 1828 and 1829, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 11(2902) ....####

Collected in 1952 by Kenneth Peacock from John Francis Mahoney [1896-?] of Stock Cove, Bonavista Bay South, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 2, pp.396-397, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that this is one of a series of ballads dealing with the exposure of a murderer on board ship by supernatural means. For other examples in this collection see The Sea Ghost and The Ship's Carpenter. New York Trader has appeared in England under various broadside titles, and William Roy Mackenzie [1883-1957] has noted it in Nova Scotia.

From the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:
Lun - of the wind, to die down, abate.


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