Come All Ye Jolly Sailor Boys (MacEdward Leach)

Well, come all ye jolly sailor boys
who to the sea belong,
If you'll listen to me,
I'll sing for you a song;
I've been as fine a seaman
as ever furled a sail,
Until by lightning lost my sight
in that last November gale.

There was a wealthy merchant
in the town where I was born,
I own, I loved his daughter
and she loved me, I swear;
The press gang they came after me,
and I was forced to go,
He sent me away to plow the sea
where stormy winds do blow.

On the fourteenth of November,
from Cook's Harbour we set sail,
Bound down to Gibraltar,
with a soothing, pleasant gale;
The wind blew fair,
our course did steer
and back before the wind,
But still my thoughts kept thinking on
the girl I left behind.

We arrived at Gibraltar
and we lay ashore while there,
And then bound for England
the winds they did still blow fair;
The very day we put to sea,
set was every sail,
When a storm came on, eclipsed the sun,
and blew a fearsome gale.

Strong winds still kept increasing
up to a hurricane,
Our skipper cried, "Make haste, my boys,
close reef our main topsail!"
No sooner he gave orders
when up aloft we lay,
Like hardy tars through gales and storms
his orders to obey.

Just as we reached our mainmast head
a heavier flash came on,
Great God, I will remember
this eclipse of the sun;
Our main top gallant mast
was split up by a ball of light,
And then four seamen more,
by the lightning lost our sight.

Now early the next morning
it was dismal for to view,
Our mate he was washed overboard
and four more of our crew;
The thunder roared tremendously
and lightning fierce did flash,
And swelling seas broke over us
and around our ship did dash.

But now, thank God, we're home again
and landed safe on shore,
Back unto Cook's Harbour
to the girl whom I adore;
Where I found Mary waiting,
so loving, kind and free,
And now we live in unity,
but her I cannot see.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newoundland song ....####

Sung in 1950 by Morris Houlihan [1885-?] of Flatrock, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada ©2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

NOTE: Cook's Harbour is a settlement on the Strait of Belle Isle, NL.


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