The Gallant Brigantine (Helen Creighton)

As I strayed ashore one evening
from my gallant brigantine,
In the island of Jamaica
where I have lately been;
Being tired of my wandering
I sat me down to rest,
And I sang a song of my native land,
the song that I love best.

Oh, when my song was ended
my mlnd was more at ease,
I rose to pick some oranges
that hung down from the trees;
It was there I saw a fair maid
who filled me with delight,
She wore the robe of innocence,
her dress was snowy white.

Her dress was snowy white, my boys,
her spencer it was green,
A silken shawl hung round her neck
her shoulders for to screen;
Her hair hung down In ringlets
and it was black as sloes,
Her teeth were like the ivory white,
her cheeks were like the rose.

So boldly I accosted her,
"Good morning, my pretty fair maid,"
So kindly she saluted me,
"Good morning sir," she said;
"I think you are a sailor
just lateiy come from sea."
"I do belong to yonder ship
lies anchored in the bay."

Then we both sat down together
and we chatted for a while,
I told her many a curious tale
which caused her for to smile;
And when she rose to leave me
these words to me addressed,
Saying, "Come and see my husband,
he will treat you to the best."

Was then she introduced me
to a noble looking man,
Most kindly he saluted me
and shook me by the hand;
The wine being on the table
and dinner served up soon,
Oh, we both sat down together,
spent a jolly afternoon.

There's one thing more I have to say
before my tale is done,
It's Harry Rysall is my name,
I am a married man;
Three weeks before I left the shore
my troubles they began,
For by the powers above,
the wife I love brought me a baby son.

####.... Harry Rysall per the lyrics. Variant of a native American ballad, The Gallant Brigantine [Laws D25] Native American Balladry (G Malcolm Laws, 1964/1950) ....####

This variant collected in 1949 by Helen Creighton [1899-1989] from Mrs Edward Gallagher of Nova Scotia, and published in Maritime Folk Songs, pp.142-143 (Ryerson, Toronto, 1962, 1972).

Three different variants were collected by Kenneth Peacock and published as My Gallant Brigantine in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 1, pp.218-223, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that a brigantine is a two-masted vessel, square-rigged forward, schooner-rigged aft; and so is sometimes called a hermaphrodite brig.

A variant was sung in 1951 by Francis (Frank) Knox [1918-?] of St Shott's, NL, and published as Captain Howley in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada, ©2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

Another variant was collected in 1976 by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best from Moses (Uncle Mose) Harris [1911-?] of Lethbridge, NL, and published as #39, The Gallant Brigantine, in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.67-69, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press ©1985/2003).

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