#01692
Jimmy Whelan (Variant A - Kenneth Peacock)
See also: Jimmy Whalen (MacEdward Leach)

Click to jump down to Variant B

Slowly I rambled by the banks of a river,
Watching those sunbeams as evening drew nigh,
And as onward I rambled there I spied a fair damsel,
She was weeping and wailing with manys a sigh.

She was weeping for one that now lies a-mouldering,
She was weeping for one that no mortal could save,
For the dark rolling water rolls carelessly o'er him,
And yonder it flows over young Jimmy's grave.

"Oh, darling," she cries, "won't you come to my arms,
Won't you come to my arms, love, from your cold silent grave?
You promised to meet me this evening, dear Jimmy,
For to wander alone by the side of the stream.".

Then slowly there arose from the depths of the water
A vision of sorrow so bright as the sun,
And his robes were all crimson in the bright light around him,
And to speak to that fair one then he did begin.

Saying, "Why did you call me from the rounds of bright glory?
Back to this dark world not long can I stay,
To embrace you once more, dear, in my cold loving arms,
To guide and protect you from a cold silent grave.

"Hard was the struggle I had in dark waters
When those waters closed o'er me upon every side,
But in thinking on you, dear, I encountered it bravely
Hoping that some day, my love, you would be my bride."

She threw herself down on her knees then before him
A-sighing and sobbing her bosom did heave,
Saying, "Take me, oh take me 'long with you, dear Jimmy,
For to lie by your side in your cold silent grave."

"Darling" he said, "you have asked me a favor
That no mortal man on this earth can decree,
For death is a dagger that we all must pass under,
And wide is that gulf that flows between you and me.

"Now one more embrace, love, and then I must leave you,
One loving kiss, dear, and then we must part."
And cold were the arms he encirlcled around her,
And warm was the breath that she pressed to his heart.

Then throwing herself down on her knees by the river,
A-sighing and sobbing her bosom did heave,
Saying, "My dearest, my darling, my lost Jimmy Whelan,
I will cry till I die by the side of your grave."

She died there alone on the banks of the river
To be with her dear one whom she loved so well,
To meet him in heaven, her own Jimmy Whelan,
In that land oh so bright with him there to dwell.

Collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1960 from Mrs Mary Ann Galpin [1872-1962] of Codroy, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.385-386, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Jimmy Whelan (Variant B - Kenneth Peacock)
See also: Jimmy Whalen (MacEdward Leach)

Yonder I strayed by the banks of a river,
Watching the sunbeams as evening drew nigh;
It was onward I rambled, I spied a fair damsel,
She was weeping and wailing with many a sigh.

She was weeping for one who is lying lowly,
Weeping for one that no mortal could save;
It was onward I rambled all along the sea-shore,
Till I spied her gazing out on her own Jimmy dear.

"Jimmy!" she cried, "Won't you come to me, darlin'
And give me sweet kisses like you oftentimes gave,
And enfold me once more in your loving strong arms?"
"Jimmy," she cried, "Won't you come from your grave?"

Slowly he rose from the depths of the water,
A vision of glory so bright as the sun;
A circle of crimson around him had gathered,
And to fondly embrace him she quickly did run.

"Why did you call me from the depths of the water,
Back to this cold world of strife and pain?
If not for your pleas for my arms to enfold you,
In the depths of the water I would ever have lain.

"Hard, hard was the struggle I had in the water,
Nothing, nothing on earth for my troubles to hide;
But thinking on you, love, I conquered them bravely,
In hopes that someday, love, you would be my bride."

Then up in the blue heavens he seemed for to go,
Leaving this poor girl alone by the shore;
Leaving this poor girl so abject and lonely,
In her earthly abode to weep ever more.

Throwing herself on the ground she cried sadly,
And these were heartfelt cries that she gave:
"Since I've lost you, my Jimmy, my own Jimmy Whelan,
I will weep there and mourn by the side of your grave."

Collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1951 from John Francis Mahoney [1896-?] of Stock Cove, Bonavista Bay South, NL. and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.387-388, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

####.... Both ballads above are variants of a traditional American ballad, Lost Jimmy Whalen [Laws C8] Native American Balladry (G Malcolm Laws, 1964) ....####

Kenneth Peacock noted that this ballad is sometimes known as The Lost Jimmy Whelan [Whalen] to distinguish it from a logging ballad of the same title. In The Ballad Book, MacEdward Leach reasons that Jimmy Whelan [Whalen] is of American composition since no variants have been found in the Old World. But here are many similar examples scattered throughout the Newfoundland collection. The one that first comes to mind is She's Like The Swallow, a song which is obviously English, but which has been preserved only in Newfoundland. If the analogy holds, the Jimmy Whelan [Whalen] is of Irish origin. Its style and content place it in the ancient, magical European tradition. Peacock stated that he could think of no native American ballad like it. The last verse of variant A was taken from variant C, the only variant that ended with the girl's actual death.

A variant was recorded by Kenneth Peacock on his 1956 album Songs And Ballads Of Newfoundland (Folkways FG 3505, LP, Cut #B.06).

A variant was also collected from Mrs Mary Dunphy [1907-1984] of Tors Cove, NL, and published as Jimmy Whalen in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

Two variants were collected by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best in 1977 from Mrs William (Katherine [Kate] Murray) Wilson [1893-1979] of Fox Harbour, NL, and Mrs Mary (Min) Caul [1902-?] of Arnold's Cove, NL, and published as #61 in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.107-108, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press © 1985/2003).

Genevieve Lehr noted that according to Edith Fowke in The Penguin Book Of Canadian Folk Songs, this song was inspired by the death of Jimmy Whelan (Phalen), a shantyboy who was killed on a tributary of the Ottawa River in the 1870s.

A variant was also recorded by Tommy Nemec singing acapella the songs he heard sung by his grandfather, John P Myrick [1900-1984] with Thomas (Tom) Finlay [1885-?] at house parties in St Shotts and on Cape Pine, NL (Songs From The Cape, trk#2, 2003, Backcove Music, St John's, NL, recorded at the Cape Pine Lightstation).


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