MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Harry Dunn
Pat Murphy NFLD 1 Tape 11A Track 8
Calvert Audio:
Ballad / lumbercamps Laws C14

Oh there was once a charming lad whose name was Harry Dunn
And his father was a farmer and Harry his only son
He had every thing was needed a house and farm of land
But still he wanted to have a trial in the woods in Michigan

One morning as Harry was going away his mother to him did say
Saying, "Harry dear don't go away it's home with your parents stay
Stay with your old aged father your mother and sisters three
For there's something seems to tell me your face I will no more see."

As Harry was started on his way for Buffalo next day
He hired out in the lumbering woods in Michigan far away
He worked away for two long months and often would write home
Saying, "The winter will soon be over and then we will go home."

One morning as Harry arose from his bunk not a smile was on brow
He called his chum outside the door whose name was Charlie Dunn
Saying, "Charlie dear I had a dream which hung my heart with woe
And I think there is something wrong at home it is there I better go."

Oh his comrades gathered round him and pleaded with him awhile
Saying, "Harry dear, it's not time to go, it's the time to fall the pine."
They worked away until one o'clock upon that fatal day
When a hanging limb came from the top and crushed him to the clay

Oh his comrades gathered around him all broken down was crashed
Saying, "Harry dear it's now time to go your time has come at last."
"So pick me up and lead me out and send my body home
Unto my old aged parents far from them I did roam."

Now it's early the next morning as a vision shone the sun
For to take home the body of poor young Harry Dunn
And when his mother saw him she fell dead on the ground
To think on her son that she loved so well her soul came heavily down

It was his old aged father he lingered for a while
Old friends say that day after he was never known to smile
In less than three weeks after we buried the poor old man
So now you have your daily curse in the woods of Michigan

(speaks): My God, I tell you I'm sorry


Sources: Mercer 130; Laws C14 ("The Hanging Limb"); Greenleaf 1968: 329; Peacock 763 ("The Woods of Michigan"); Fowke 1970: #34; Roud 639.

History: An American song popular in the early 20 th -century lumbercamps.

Text notes: Harry leaves home against his parents wishes. He is killed by a falling tree limb while working in the woods. Both parents dies of sorrw.

Tune notes: In 6/8 metre, performed slowly, this tune uses both a flattened and natural seventh degree, depending on the melodic context. The form is "abbc."

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