#02004
The Old Blackbird (MacEdward Leach)
See also: If I Were A Blackbird (Harry Hibbs)
And also: If I Was A Blackbird (Andy M Stewart)

If I were a blackbird, I'd whistle and sing,
And follow the ship that my true love sails in;
And on the top rigging I'll there build my nest,
And I'll pillow my head on my fond lover's chest.

I am a young maiden and my story is sad,
For once I was courted by a brave sailor lad;
He courted me truly by night and by day,
And now he has left me and gone far away.

He promised to take me to Donnybrook fair,
To buy me red ribbons to tie up my hair;
And I know that someday he'll come back o'er the tide,
And surely he'Il make me his own loving bride.

My parents they despise him and will not agree,
That I and my sailor lad married should be;
But let them deride me and do what they will,
While there's breath in my body, he is the one I love still.

If I were a scholar and could handle a pen,
Long, private letters to my true love I'd send;
I'd tell him my misfortune, my sore grief, and woe,
If I'd wings like a dove, to my true love I'd go.

If I were a blackbird, I'd whistle and sing,
And follow the ship that my true love sails in;
And on the top rigging I'll there build my nest,
And I'll pillow my head on my fond lover's chest.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland song ....####

Collected in 1951 from Hannah O'Brien 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 variant was recorded as If I Were A Blackbird by Harry Hibbs (Somewhere At Sea, trk#11, 1971, Arc Sound Ltd, Toronto, Ontario).

See more songs by Harry Hibbs.

A variant was also published on p.119 of Newfoundlanders, Sing!: A Collection Of Favorite Newfoundland Folk Songs compiled by Omar Blondahl and published for Robin Hood Flour Mills (E J Bonnell Associates, St John's, NL, 1964).

See more songs by Omar Blondahl.

A male variant was reworked and published as If I Was A Blackbird in The Andy M Stewart Collection songbook, 1998.


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