Captain Spinney (MacEdward Leach)

In the chilly month of winter,
in the midst of frost and snow,
We left our own safe harbour
and off for George's go;
Where the boisterous winds do rattle,
it strikes heavy in our sails,
While we go off a-spouting
jus' like some flights o' whales.

Our sails are always good,
made of the best of duck,
Our riggin' it's manila rope,
well rove through patent blocks;
Our vessels are built of good white oak,
well finished wit' red paste,
And we brave the heavy northern winds
and stormy winter gales.

Where the frost and snow in torrents blow
and breakers on each side,
To see our noble vessel how justly she do ride;
While the frost contains in mountains
and the bitter winds do blow,
While we poor sons of Americay
all hardships undergo.

The hardships of those George's Banks
no pensman can describe,
The roughness of the water
and the furies of it's tide;
But stay awhile and listen,
t'ink what I say be true,
The Ocean Queen she's missing
and drownded all her crew.

There was seventeen young heroes brave
jus' in the prime of life,
Commanded by young Spinney
he left a loving wife;
To her was three months married
when from her he did part,
But now she's left a widow
with a sad and a broken heart.

She is not the only one
these George's caused to weep,
Husbands, sons, and fathers
are buried in the deep;
God knows how to pity them,
He just knows how they feel,
There is a day of guilt to come
when every soul must yield.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a traditional American shipwreck ballad ....####
Collected in 1951 from Patrick (Pat) Critch [1882-1963] 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 collected ca.1929 by Helen Creighton [1899-1989] of Dartmouth, NS, from Ben Henneberry of Devil's Island, Nova Scotia, and published in 1932 in Creighton's Songs & Ballads from Nova Scotia (1932) pp.297-298.

The Ocean Queen out of Gloucester sank at George's Bank on Nov 27, 1851, according to the Northern Shipwrecks Database.

George's Bank is a large elevated area of the sea floor which separates the Gulf of Maine from the Atlantic Ocean and is situated between Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia.

From the glossary of Rigging Small Sailboats:
Rove - past tense of reeve: to pass a line through any aperture such as a block or eye.


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