MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
The Drunken Captain
Ned Rice NFLD 1 Tape 7 Track 7
Cape Broyle Audio:
Ballad / storm at sea, mutiny

Homeward bound across the sea,
When a drunken captain got on a spree,
He came on board and to us did say,
Get your anchors ready and we'll put to sea.

We got all things ready by his command,
As the wind blew freely we left the land,
We left Cape Pine all on our lee,
And we swung her off in a heavy sea.

Down came a squall from the angry sky,
Our ship she's sinking and her decks can't rise,
We asked our captain to shorten sail,
Or we're all be lost in this heavy gale.

He wrang his hands and he tore his hair,
Saying when I am captain you need not fear,
While I am captain you need not fear,
I'll shoot the first man that interferes,

Up speaks one of our noble men,
Saying there's twelve of us on her deck to stand,
We all reef her down to the sea's we'll go,
If you interfere you'll be tied below.

We reefed her down against his will,
As the wind blew freely her sails kept filled,
She's heading down for the cape shore now,
And she's driving the white foam from her bow.

It's homeward bound in deep distress,
Like a white seagull as she seeks her nest,
If I gets on shore no more I'll sail,
With a drunken captain in a heavy gale.


Sources: Mercer 114, Leach 118; Peacock 871; Creighton 1966 932>, 230; Leach also collected this song from Martin Reddigan of Calvert. Roud 1815.

History: May have originated either in Newfoundland or Nova Scotia.

Text notes: Known as "In Canso Strait" in Nova Scotia;   Sailors ask captain to reef sails in a gale and he refuses; they defy orders of their captain in order to get home safely.

Tune notes: The two tunes for this song are similar, both slow 6/6 metre, abcd patterns in which the "c" phrase ends with a dramatic ascending 6th

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