As I roved out one fine summer's evening,
To view those flow'rs and to take the air;
'Twas there I spied a tender mother,
Talking to her daughter dear.
Singing, "Daughter, O daughter, I'll have you to marry,
No longer to live a sweet single life."
"O mother, O mother, I 'd rather to tarry,
To be some brave young sailor's wife."
"A sailor shy sits all for to wander,
To some foreign counteree he go;
They will cause you to sigh and to murmur,
They will prove your overthrow."
"Or if you could get me to wed with a farmer,
To be your joy and heart's delight;
But give me the boy with the tarry, tarry trousers,
To shine in my eyes like the diamond bright."
She hung her head on the top of her shoulders,
Tears from her eyes like the fountain flowed;
"I'll stay at home and be true-hearted
Whilst my love to the seas doth go.
"Hark, O, hark, how the great guns are rattling,
Big and small they all make noise;
My true love's in the field of battle,
Now fight on, my gallant boys."
####.... Author unknown ....####
Sung in 1929 by Charles and Gordon Willis of Fogo, NL, and published as #31 on pp.69-70 with the title As I Roved Out (Tarry Trowsers) in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland, by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1933; Folklore Associates, Hatboro, Pennsylvania, 1968).
A variant was also collected by Helen Creighton [1899-1989] and Doreen H Senior and published as Tarry Trousers in Traditional Songs From Nova Scotia, pp.212-214, (Ryerson, Toronto, 1950).
The earliest known variant was found in the 1848 journal of the whaling vessel Nauticon out of Nantucket, Massachusetts, by the captain's wife, Susan Veeder, and is archived at the Nantucket Historical Association Research Library.
A variant was recorded by Figgy Duff (A Retrospective 1974-1993, trk#10, 1995 CD, produced by Pamela Morgan, Amber Music, Mississauga, Ontario, distributed by EMI, Canada); and (Figgy Duff Live, trk#6, 2008 CD, produced by Pamela Morgan, Amber Music Limited, Topsail, NL, recorded live at the Delta Hotel, St John's, NL, 1999 by Don Ellis).
The video below features an excellent variant by Allison Crowe of Nanaimo, British Columbia and Corner Brook, NL, of one of the songs she's arranged and curated for inclusion in the 2014 Gros Morne Theatre Festival line-up - and the third incarnation of a rollicking hit show, Newfoundland Vinyl, conceived by Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador's Artistic Director Jeff Pitcher.