MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Gay Spanish Maid
Ernest Poole NFLD 1 Tape 17A Track 8
Cape Ray Audio:
Ballad / shipwreck Laws K16

Male voice: … too high and you pitch it too low and it's going to be too low.

Male voice: Try it Harry don't pitch it too low this time

A gay Spanish maid at the age of sixteen
Over hills and through valleys she roamed
Where she sat down to rest near a green spreading oak
With her gay gallant youth by her side

"My ship sails tomorrow fair maiden," he said
"And with you I can't roam anymore
And will you tonight when your parents are asleep
Will you meet me tonight by the shore?"

"And when her old parents retired to rest
She slowly crept out the hall door
With her hat in her hand she ran down on the sand
And she met with her love by the shore

"My ship sails tomorrow fair maiden," he said
"And with you I can't roam anymore
l will leave you in God's care with your parents at home
While I am so far far away."

That night there came on a most terrible storm
And the wind through her rigging it did howl
Not a soul there to cheer her sad aching heart
And our ship she went down in the gale

The pale moon was rising far over the sea
And the skies a d the waters seemed to meet
Not a sound could be heard but the rippling of the waves
Where they rose and they broke at her feet

That night on the billows we were tossed to and fro
Every man his poor life tried to save
Where I swum to a place that got hidden from the wreck
I got saved from a watery grave

It's now I'll return to my own darling Nell
She's the flower of my bosom I adore
Where she died like a rose that got bitten by the frost
When she thought of her love in the gale


Sources: Mercer 124; Laws K16; Leach 16, 18, 66 cf. Fowke 1994: 156 ("The Young Indian Lass" which she claims has been performed as "The Spanish Lass" in Newfoundland sources);   Roud 708


Text notes: Leach's transcription notes the title as "The Spanish Maid"   Another shipwreck ballad, this story recounts the separation of lovers, the shipwreck and dramatic rescue of the young lover, but his tragic return to find that his beloved had already died of a broken heart.

Tune notes: In 4/4 metre, an abcd form.

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