We Left The Port Of Sydney (Lehr and Best)

We left the port of Sydney
on a calm and cheerful day,
With sixteen souls upon her deck
as she headed out the bay.

We had a load of coal on board
bound for Argentia fair,
The extra men on board of her
bound for homes and loved ones dear.

We had not long been sailing
when a thunder-storm arose,
The lightning flashed about her deck
as if fighting with the foes.

The skipper he came up on deck
and the other men likewise,
And with his wise old mind, he said:
"A storm is brewing, boys.

"I think we better go below
and put our oilskins on,
And then tie up our mainsail
before the storm comes on."

'Twas down below those men did go
without a thought of fear,
The danger that awaited them
upon the ocean there.

When suddenly a mighty crash
that filled the heavy air,
And sank the ship with mighty force
and threw her in despair.

The seas closed in upon her
and she sank beneath the waves,
The men below her deck were trapped
and no time their lives to save.

The extra men on board of her
as passengers did go,
And they to save their money
for their families that we know.

They left their homes in early March
and to Lunenburg did go,
To drag their living from the Banks
or from the watery foe.

The fishery being a poor one
as many can relate,
And they to save their money
meet this terrible fate.

And now to those who mourn
for them they never more shall see,
God grant them rest and comfort
and the tenderest sympathy.

On earth we'll part and separate,
in heaven we'll meet again,
Where there will be no sorrow
and no thought of coming pain.

The ocean then her dead shall heal
and we shall all unite,
And dwell within the city
in that land of pure delight.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland shipwreck ballad ....####
Collected in 1977 by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best from Mrs Mary Ann (Andrews) Robert Skinner [1913-?] of Francois, NL, and published as #119 in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.201-202, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press ©1985/2003).

Genevieve Lehr noted that because there is no mention of the name of the ship or the captain in this song, it is difficult to trace any information about it. This is rather unusual for locally composed songs concerning sea disasters which normally name either the ship involved, the captain of the vessel, or even some of the crew members themselves.

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