George's Banks (MacEdward Leach)

Sunbeams in crimson and shadows,
He kissed his fair Flor-o on the bright happy morn;
Our skipper he sailed from out of the harbour,
Out upon George's where there's sunshines and storms.

Light blew the breeze as our good ship she parted,
Out on the ocean where dangers arise;
But sad was the heart that was left in the cottage,
Won by a kiss on the cheek of his wife.

Light danced our craft o'er the deep raging billows,
Light-hearted fishermen joyful and gay;
And while the young wife in her little brown cottage,
Watches through the window at the speck on the sea.

Sad was the mother but duty was urgent,
When the heart from the cradle gave a loud wailing cry;
Calmly she pressed her babe to her bosom,
And sang it to sleep with a sweet lullaby.

Three little babes must be clad for the winter,
Six little feet must be kept from the cold;
Three little hearts must be brought up in sunshine,
Afraid they would suffer and never grow old.

Time passed away as the mother grew weary,
Tired from watching and waiting in vain;
She knew that the father would never forsake them,
Because he was patient and never complained.

Out upon George's this vessel is lying,
Deep in the sea many days she has been;
And while the young wife in her little brown cottage,
Watches and waits but waits all in vain.

Cold lies his form in the depths of the ocean,
Insects are breeding in the color of his charm;
While the young wife in her little brown cottage,
Hopeless awaiting her loved one's return.

Many brave fishermen are sacrificed yearly,
Out on the ocean where dangers arise;
But God is a father and mother to those children,
Help and pity those fishermen's wives.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional ballad ....####

Collected in 1951 from Francis (Frank) Knox [1918-?] of St Shott's, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

Note: In spite of attempts to categorize this song as a variant of one of many about ships and fishermen lost on George's Banks, this lament lacks any names or dates for identifying it with those. The words read more like those published in broadsides or local newspapers along with appeals for contributions or donations for the families of local fishermen lost at sea. This one appears to be for the benefit of fishermen's wives and, in particular, the wife of the captain of an unnamed vessel.


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GEST Songs Of Newfoundland And Labrador


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