MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Thomas and Nancy
Mike Kent NFLD 1 Tape 10 Track 3
Cape Broyle Audio:
Ballad / lover dies, shipwreck Laws K15

Call Thomas and Nancy to part,
On the beach where they stood broken-hearted,
While the tears from her blue eyes did start.

Said Thomas. Nancy to Thomas, "When you're sailing,
When you're sailing far over the main,
Think on the last words I have told you,
And remember my dear you are mine."

They kissed and shook hands and they parted,
Thomas leaped in his boat from the shore,
As Thomas lay on his soft pillow,
Thought of Nancy and his parents at home.

He went on board his ship and got ready
Like a seagull she dashed o'er the foam.

Female voice: (speaks) Don't remember the words?

The rocks tore our good ship asunder,
And the crew met a watery tomb.

As Nancy was walking and abiding,
To a place where they had walked before,
She saw the cold corpse of poor Thomas,
A-floating along by the shore.

She kissed his cold lips to her sorrow,
And loud told the depth of her grief,
Before the sun sets on tomorrow,
We'll bring to young Nancy relief,

Come all you young maidens take warning,
Never object to a free call,
Be like Nancy true-hearted kind lover,
Died for Thomas her brave sailor bold.


Sources: Mercer 185; Laws K15; Peacock 729; Greenleaf 1968: 144; Lehr 183. Roud 3232.


Text notes: Thomas dies in a shipwreck. The grieving Nancy takes her life in order to be with him. When Peacock collected it from Mike Kent, the first line was recorded as "A bos'n's loud whistle had sounded".

Tune notes: Lehr and Best describe a 1977 performance by Annie Green of Francois who "sang it beautifully while providing a rhythmical accompaniment with the motion of her rocking-chair. This gave the impression of the sound of a ship upon the sea; her timers creaking as she rolled gently in the waves" (184). The melody performed here settles into triple metre after the first stanza. Within the aa'ab form, the tonal centre is not entirely clear until the fourth and final line.  

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