Shamrock (MacEdward Leach)

See also: The Loss Of The Shamrock
(Kenneth Peacock)

And also: Torbay Song (MacEdward Leach)

Tom Fewer took his clothes, bid his mother adieu,
To see where they're going or what they would do;
When James Rourke saw him coming, those words he did say,
"Here comes my loyal comrade, we are now bound away."

His mother advised him with tears in her eyes,
Saying, "James, darling James, don't you force those poor boys;
Can't you wait until Monday? You'll be better prepared,
For it looks wild and stormy to face out to sea."

He took no advice, but on board straight he went,
Himself he being willing, the crew, against his consent;
His canvas did hoist and his anchor did weigh,
On the eighteenth of September on a Friday sailed away.

Saturday being the nineteenth, as ye all might know,
Those cold bitter winds, how hard they did blow;
All night they strove hard, their poor lives to save,
But it all proved in vain, they met a watery grave.

It is for John Nolan, he belongs to our bay,
He done a bad action, I heard people say;
He done a bad action, if he's not belied,
Wouldn't pick up those bodies when they floated 'longside.

I own I won't curse him nor owe him no spite,
If I would not oblige them I would do what is right;
For what better comfort could their poor mothers get,
To have the bodies of their children to bury in their graves?

Tom Fewer is my name, and my age twenty-two,
Last winter, dearest mother, I spent 'long with you;
Three half years I served James Murray, the last against my consent,
As we sailed in the Shamrock to the bottom she went.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland song ....####

Collected in 1951 from Michael (Mike) Molloy [1893-?] 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).

In 1951, MacEdward Leach also collected an incomplete variant of these lyrics from Tom Ferrier of Trepassey, NL, which was published as Torbay Song in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada ©2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was collected in 1959 by Kenneth Peacock from George William Decker [1878-1962] of Rocky Harbour, NL, and published as The Loss Of The Shamrock in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 3, pp.963-964, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that Mr Decker said this native ballad was old when he learned it in his youth, over sixty years ago, [pre-1900] and so there is no danger of reviving unpleasant memories among the principals of the story. In any event, it would be difficult to get 'clearance' from surviving relatives to use the song because no place-names are mentioned.

According to the Northern Shipwrecks Database, the Shamrock was lost in a gale off Cape St Mary's on September 19, 1846.

See more NL shipwreck songs.


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Newfoundland And Labrador

(AD 1628 through 2020)


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