MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Banks of Sweet Trawlee
Performed by Alphonse O'Driscoll Accession # 78-054 NFLD 1 Tape 1 Track 9
Community: Tors Cove Audio:
Genre: Ballad / lover's return Laws M25

Transcription

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
Thru 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


Notes

cf. "Banks of Sweet Dundee" (Mercer 96; Lehr 12-13); Laws M25.

Text notes: A soldier (Willie) enlists to fight a French ship, but returns to marry his sweetheart. (In some versions, her relatives think him unworthy and press him into service.)

Tune notes: The first phrase has both a flattened seventh (implying mixolydian mode) and a "natural" one; the form is abba.

 

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