Willie (Kenneth Peacock)

As I rovèd out on one fine summer's morning,
One fine summer's morning the weather being clear,
There I beheld a fair one with a babe all in her arms,
A-sitting on a cold rock in grief and despair.

"How hard is my fortune, dear Willie, dear Willie?"
Three times she exclaimèd, "Shall I ever see you more?"
Three times she exclaimèd, "Shall I ever more behold you?
I'm afraid your tender body will lay rolling in the sea."

The Quay of Dunloch was a steam-packet vessel
Bound down for Liverpool on winds fair that day,
With the sky being clear and the land disappearing,
And Willie in his countenance looked cheerful and gay.

The night coming on it looked dark, sad, and dreary,
Our ship by the billows was tossèd to and fro,
Two sailors were washed overboard out in the foaming ocean,
While men, women, and chidren were all crying down below.

Oh some were on their bended knees for mercy imploring,
Some more crying out helplessly in grief and despair,
While the raging seas were roaring and sailors all swearing,
For when they saw the danger they all mocked at their prayer.

They hove out their long boats all in the foaming ocean,
And into one of them got my Willie and me,
But before we reached the shore oh one boat was overwhelmed,
And instantly forty bodies lay rolling in the sea.

Oh ragèd was my Willie, for reckoning he implorèd,
He landed me safe on a highland on shore,
For to save his agèd father his sweet life he did venture,
Which caused me to see my tender Willie no more.

Oh now I am leavèd as a poor distressèd widow,
Scarce twelve months being married as you may plainly see,
Me to beg for my bread among cold hard-hearted strangers.
Kind heavens look down on my infant and me!

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a British broadside ballad, The Isle Of Man Shore (The Quay Of Dundocken; The Desolate Widow) [Laws K7] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957, pp.143-144) ....####

Collected in 1959 by Kenneth Peacock from George William Decker [1878-1962] of Rocky Harbour, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 2, pp.486-487, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that Greenleaf and Mansfield collected this previously in Newfoundland as The Quay Of Dundocken sung in 1929 by Patrick Mooney [1856-c.1945] of Placentia Bay, Fortune Harbour, and published as #104 on page 208 in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1933; Folklore Associates, Hatboro, PA, 1968).

See also The Isle of Man Shore in the Bulletin Of The Folk Song Society Of The Northeast (Maine) #1, pp.8-9.


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