MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Bold Larkin
Mike Kent NFLD 1 Tape 10 Track 7
Cape Broyle Audio:
Newfoundland Ballad / shipwreck

Ye tender-hearted Christians sit down and condole with me,
And pity my situation in this sad eternity,
If I am wrong please stop me for you I will admit,
While I relate what did take place in the year of . eight . ninety-five.

Twas in the month of April Sunday morning at half past four,
When an accident took place when old Neptune loud did roar,
It being third straight morning tossed on the raging sea,
On a single pound of bread a day each man for to sustain.

We were running all night before the wind thinking to make the land,
Each eye to sea felt eagerly it's morning first sighted land,
When Larkin cried, "My hearty boys since the land is not in view,
The daylight is approaching for we will heave her to."

When daylight broke upon us the land we chanced to spy,
Crowd sail my boys this Larkin cries to get her home we'll try,
Two youths to loosen our foresail their orders to obey,
And one of them poor fellows fell four miles from Cape Spear that day.

When Shannon fell eight and a half she was taking from the reel,
And instantly our helm starboard hove the wheel,
Twas nimbly our main yard spun around the boat was launched with speed,
From the time he fell eight minutes was the boat was manned.

Six jolly tars they manned the oars and rowed with all our skill,
With breakers white all round them their boat began to fill.
Poor fellow to his maker fled which did us sore confound
Twas every man's opinion the boat they would be drowned

(speaks) forgot it there

Then Larkin cries, "My hearty boys your main yards square away,

With a delicate mind to leave behind that lad we loved so dear,
In the ocean deep for his last sleep but four miles from Cape Spear ,
You'd pity the father when we hauled into the pier.
The wringing of his feeble hands and tearing of his hair,

He cried in broken accents a saying, "Where did you leave my child?"
And his aged mother I am told she instantly went wild,
Now all of you here present men and women and children
Say a prayer for Andrew Shannon may he rest in peace amen.


Sources: Mercer 148 ("Loss of Andrew Sheehan"; Murphy 14; Lehr 19; The name of the man is "Shannon" in the song text of "Bold Larkin."

History: Composed by John Grace about Andrew Sheehan, a native of St. John's (Lehr 20). Murphy's version dates the event to 1855 and uses Harkin in place of Larkin.

Text notes: The song describes a shipwreck and the death of Andrew Shannon, or Sheehan in "Harkin's Voyage."

Tune notes: A Mixolydian mode melody in 6/8 metre and "abba" form. Leach also collected this song (as "Harkin's Voyage") from Charles Dawe of Flatrock.

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