MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Harkin's Voyage
Charles Dawe NFLD 1 Tape 16 Track 2
Flatrock Audio:
Newfoundland Ballad / Drowning at sea

Come all ye jolly seamen bold that to the seas belong
It wants your whole attention to listen to my song
If I'm going wrong then stop my hand for you will be obliged
I mean to state what did take place the year of '65

Twas on a Sunday morning and oh.

(speaks) No use I had. can't do it. I can't do it, I got it all tangled up now

Leach: (reading) "Twas on a Sunday morning as you may understand."

Twas on…
Twas in the month of April Sunday Morning at half past four
An accident on board of her while Neptune loud did roar
That morning being our thirty-first tossed on the raging main
One single pound of bread a day each man for to sustain

We were running all night under double reefed tops expecting to make the land
Each eye appeared the [livid cleared next day for I shake hands?]
When old Harkins cries, "Away me boys neither light nor land in view
But the daylight is approaching and for it we'll heave to."

Now when the daylight cleared away the land we did espy
And Harkins cries, "Make sail me boys, to get her home we'll try."
Two youths to loose out our forecourse his orders did obey
And one of them poor fellows fell from our fore-yard that day

And bout that time eight and a half she was taking from the reel
When instantly old helmsman to starboard hove the wheel
Right nimbly her mainyards spun a boat was lowered by hand
Eight minutes from the time it fell twas launched and nobly manned

Like hardy for his life to save they used both strength and skill
With breakers white all round them their boat began to fill
When mention and bold combined to row her with all their might
Poor fellow to his maker flew he's vanished from their sight

His time was come his glass was run to his maker he did flee
Let's hope the great almighty did receive him thankfully
Now there was many sad and aching hearts on board of us that day
When Harkins gave the order our main yard to square away

With desolate minds leaving behind the boy we all loved dear
In the ocean deep to take his sleep about four mile from Cape Spear
And when we hauled into the dock his aged father he was there
Wringing of his aged hands and tearing of his hair

He cries out broken-hearted, "Boys where did ye lay my child?
And for his tender mother I'm certain she'll go wild."
He cried out broken-hearted, "Boys where did you lay my dear?"
"We left him in a watery grave about four miles from Cape Spear."

Now parents dear don't weep no more for the losing of a son
And sisters dear I beg of you one prayer for him that's gone
And all ye people young and old men women and children
Pray that the soul of Andrew Sheehan might rest in peace, amen


Sources: Mercer 148 ("Loss of Andrew Sheehan"), Murphy 14, Lehr 19.

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

Text notes: A ship goes off course. One man, Andrew Sheehan, falls overboard and drowns. When the ship makes landfall, they must confront Andrew's distraught father.

Tune notes: Phrase pattern abc b d. Leach also collected this song (as "Bold Larkin") from Mike Kent of Cape Broyle.

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