#01609
The Brave Volunteers (Kenneth Peacock)

As I rovèd out on
one fine summer's evening
Down by some green meadow
I chanced for to stray;
There I heard a poor woman
in sad lamentation,
And I drew myself nearer
for to hear what she did say.

I asked that poor widow
the cause of her weeping,
And I offered her my help
if she would dry up her tears;
But at length she replied,
"Sir, my grief is unrelieving,
For the sea is the grave
of our brave volunteers.

"My Henry and me we were
only twelve months married
When war it broke out and
for volunteers they signed;
My Henry he enlisted for
to fight for his country,
And with hard-hearted strangers
I am leavèd here behind."

He said, "Mary, my dear,
we are only twelve months married,
I am leaving you in sorrow,
dear, but dry up your tears,
For in short I will return home
with riches and honour
When the war is all over
for we brave volunteers."

It's well do I remember when
their good ship she weighed anchor,
With songs and with music
the air it did resound,
But little did they think
when their hearts were so merry
That they never would again
set their foot upon the ground.

And sad were the dreams
all that night on my pillow,
The wind it did blow
and it told in my ears
Of those five hundred young men
overwhlemed in the billows,
And not one of them escaped
of those brave volunteers.

So you maidens of Scotland
you'll have right for to remember,
You can water the grass with
the tears from your eyes,
But your sad lamentation
will never recover
From the depths of the ocean
your dear sweethearts lie.

You maidens of Ireland
you'll have right for to remember,
With your eyes full of tears
and your hearts sad and sore,
Of that dark stormy night,
the twenty-eighth of November,
When your sweethearts they were
drownded on that wild rocky shore.

Sleep on my poor infant,
you know not of my wailing,
I will cease from deep pining,
I will dry up my tears,
For God in his mercy
He feeds those young ravens
Whilst we widows we must mourn
for our brave volunteers.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a British broadside ballad, The Brave Volunteers, published by H Such (London) sometime between 1863 and 1885, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Firth c.12(120) ....####

Collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1951 from Mrs Mary Ann Galpin [1872-1962] of Codroy, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 2, pp.432-433, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Comprehensive historical research copyrighted in the CSU Fresno Ballad Index concluded that this ballad was written about The Rival, a ship out of Greenock, Scotland, which sank off the Galway coast of Ireland on December 4, 1832, while transporting 472 British volunteers to Oporto, Portugal, in support of Don Pedro II in the Miguelista War.


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