#01389
Banks Of Sweet Trawlee (MacEdward Leach)
See also: The Banks Of Sweet Dundee (Lehr/Best)

Oh, Mary had a boyfriend
and Willie was his name,
It was by his cruel old uncle,
as you may understand,
Who had him pressed and sent away
far from his native land.

We had not long been sailing
when a French ship hove in sight,
Our Captain called us all hands on deck
to view that glorious sight;
Young Willie like some seaman bold
got numbered in the lee,
His heart was fixed for Mary
on the banks of sweet Trawlee.

The French ship hove her colours 'round
and ran before the wind,
Like hearty tars and seamen bold
we gained and sailed away on them;
Like hearty tars and seamen bold
we gained our victory,
He's going to fight for Mary
on the banks of sweet Trawlee.

Oh, now this war is over
and the peace it is proclaimed,
Young Willie just returning home
without a scar or stain;
Young Willie just returning home
paid off so manfully,
He's going to find out Mary
on the banks of sweet Trawlee.

For once I had an old sweetheart
and Willie was his name,
It was by a bullet from a Frenchman's gun;
It was there your Willie fell,
And as he lay I heard him say
how cruel mercy'd been.

Oh, when she heard him say these words
she flew into a rage,
And wringing of her lily-white hands
and tearing of her hair;
Saying, "Since my Willie is dead and gone
no other I'll adore,
Through lonesome groves and valleys
I'll wander for his sake."

Oh, when he heard her say these words
he could no longer stand,
But flew into her lily-white arms saying,
"Mary, I'm the man!"
For the bells did ring and the birds did sing,
and they sang so joyfully,
To see those couple get married
on the banks of sweet Trawlee.

####.... Author unknown. An apparent continuation of a 19th-century British broadside ballad, Undaunted Mary; or, The Banks Of Sweet Dundee, published by J Pitts (London) sometime between 1819 and 1844, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 11(3942) ....####

Sung in 1950 by Alphonsus (Alphonse) O'Driscoll [1901-?] of Tors Cove, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A ballad which apparently precedes this story of Willie and Mary was collected in 1976 from Moses (Uncle Mose) Harris [1911-?] of Lethbridge, Bonavista Bay, NL, by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best and published as #6, The Banks Of Sweet Dundee in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.12-13, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press © 1985/2003).


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