Tilley's Farewell To Bonavista (Gerald S Doyle)

Gracefully floated the signal flag
and warned us we should sail,
And many hearts welcomed with joy
the first breath of the Western gale;
Friends were there, both young and old,
in that circle closed around,
To say farewell that last time on earth,
on the deck of the outward bound.

We fast sped away from the Western shores
before a spanking gale,
And kept our way for an eastern course,
under low and heavy sail;
One young in years stood on the deck
and looked back with a bitter smile:
Farewell, farewell, the last time on earth,
thou frost and snow-clad isle.

Dim and distant you look in my view,
thou gloomy and rock bound shore,
Land of my childhood's home, adieu,
on earth we will meet no more;
Yet on fancy's wing shall my heart come back,
far across the ocean's foam,
To the brightsome scenes of boyhood days
in my childhood's happy home.

At evening's close, when my toll is o'er,
then my mother may kneel and pray
To God to protect her only son
in that land so far away;
Though her prayers be good,
she'll never behold her boy that's over the wave,
Till her sun of life has forever set,
and she sleeps in her silent grave.

####.... Mr Tilley ....####
Published by Gerald S Doyle in Old-Time Songs And Poetry Of Newfoundland: Songs Of The People From The Days Of Our Forefathers, 1st Ed, p.7, 1927.

Gerald Doyle noted that Mr Tilley was born in Bird Island Cove (now Elliston) near Bonavista, and composed this song as he was leaving his native land on a sailing vessel to seek employment in the United States.

From Dictionary.com:
Spanking - blowing briskly: a spanking breeze.


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