#02799
White Horses On The Bay (Ninety Percent Spawn)
video
#1278: YouTube video by oldirishladdie
©2010 ~ Used with permission ~

She remembers when her grandma
took her on her knee,
And told her how to know the ways
of weather on the sea,
Of wind and gulls and blood-red suns
and sailors who did pray,
That failed to heed the warnings
of white horses on the bay.

It was early in the morning
when her man got up to leave,
Her sons were more than eager,
their father they believed,
Would guide them safely homeward
with a bumper catch to sell,
All signs was there was plenty
their children they would tell.

Oh, white horses on the bay,
you will hear the old folks say,
Are messengers from heaven sent by God;
If you heed their warnings late,
they will bring you through His gate,
Where He'll gently take you in His loving arms.

She gazed out through the window,
as they passed the harbour light,
But her hands began to tremble
when she saw this dreadful sight,
For it sparked her childhood memory,
she could hear her grandma say,
Tie up your boats and never tempt
white horses on the bay.

But her hard sons never heard
the words her grandma had to say,
She had no way of knowing
what would happen on that day;
The wind came up so swiftly,
their skiff was loaded down,
The fierce waves overtook her,
no soul was ever found.

Oh, white horses on the bay,
you will hear the old folks say,
Are messengers from heaven sent by God;
If you heed their warnings late,
they will bring you through His gate,
Where He'll gently take you in His loving arms.
Where He'll gently take you in His loving arms.

####.... Ninety Percent Spawn of Kelligrews, NL ....####

Recorded by Ninety Percent Spawn (White Horses On The Bay, trk#1, 1989, produced by Wade Jones of Ninety Percent Spawn and recorded at Rainbow Studios, Kelligrews, NL.

A variant was recorded by Peter Conway (There's No Place Like Home, trk#6, Independent, St Bride's, NL).

Note: Older fishermen and their families forecast a storm on the horizon when waves break into foam, the allusion to horses on the bay is an apparent reference to an Irish legend of a chieftain of the O'Donaghue clan who was drowned on Lake Killarney on the morning of his wedding. The story was told that he could be seen at sunrise every May Day, preceded by maidens strewing flowers, driving his milk-white steeds over the lake which, through enchantment, would restore his castle as he approaches, but only for as long as it took for the sun to rise above the treetops.


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