MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Prisoner of Newfoundland
Eddy Primroy NFLD 1 Tape 14 Track 11
Pouch Cove Audio:
Ballad / lament Mr. Primroy accompanies himself on guitar

Ye lads and lassies of Newfoundland come listen to my sad tale
While I relate the hardships I went through in St. John's Jail
Although a prisoner in this life I'll do the best I can
To relate the hardships that I went through in the prison of Newfoundland

This prison was situated down by the side of a lonely pond
Where I sat ofttimes singing like a mockingbird alone
To watch those lads and lassies how they used to sport and play
Through the iron grated windows of the penitentiary

One night as I lay fast asleep all alone in my prison cell
I dreamt I was in old Ireland where once I used to dwell
Those pleasant dreams disturbed my rest as you may understand
And soon I awoke with a broken heart in the prison of Newfoundland

The day all of my trial it would grieve your heart for sure
To hear young […] Harvey who falsely on me swore
Judge Carter passed my sentence and this to me did say
Six months on hard bread and cold water in the penitentiary

Now to conclude and finish I mean to end my song
Johnny Doyle it is my name old Ireland I belong
I spent my time on that Black Bauline and in summer I went to sea
But now at last I am caught fast to the penitentiary


Sources: Mercer 169 ("Prison of Newfoundland"); Blondahl 1964: 46; Doyle 1955: 48; recorded by Omar Blondahl ("Prison of Newfoundland") in 1959 for Banff (RBS 1142); Taft 57.


Text notes: A prisoner's lament

Tune notes: A 6/8 metre tune in "abb'a" form (note the cadence variant of "b'"). The tonality is major. Leach also collected this from Monica Rossiter of Cape Broyle. Both performers offer the same tune with some variation.

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