Davy Arthur & Arthur  Stewart      [Banks of Newfoundland]          SA1980.05.1                                

This fine song led off a lively evening of singing at the home of David and Iris Anderson on January 10 1980. The evening had been suggested by younger singers in the island wishing to introduce me to their songs so as to complement those which I had recorded from the older generation of singers.

This song was included on the record The Corries: Bonnet, Belt and Sword (Fontana STL5401, 1967) with the title Banks of Newfoundland.  Many present that evening admitted to being very fond of recordings by The Corries.

The history of our ballad is rather confused because several different ballads  telling of the sad trials of  voyages to Newfoundland share similar names (see for example Roy Palmer’s The Oxford Book of Sea Songs, where two older songs are to be found bearing the title The Banks of Newfoundland).  This version seems to be a variant of a late 19th century native American ballad authored by Captain Caleb White, Bound Down To Newfoundland. (Roud no. 647)

On St. Patrick’s Day, the seventeenth, from New York we set sail
Kind fortune did favour us wi’ a sweet and a pleasant gale
We bore away from Amer-i-cay, the wind bein’ off the land
And wi’ courage brave we ploughed the wave bound down for Newfoundland. 

Our Captain’s name was Nelson just twenty years of age,
As true and brave a sailor lad as ever ploughed the wave
The Eveline our brig was called belonging to MacLean
And wi’ courage brave we ploughed the wave bound down for Newfoundland. 

When three days out to our surprise our Captain he fell sick
And shortly was not ab–i-le to take his turn on deck.
The fever raged which made us think that death was near at hand,
So we bore away from Halifax bound down for Newfoundland. 

At three o’clock we sighted a light that we were glad to see;
The small-pox had bin’ rag-i-n’, that’s what it proved to be;
At four o’clock in the afternoon, as sure as God’s command,
He passed away in Arichak [harrowed shock?] bound down for Newfoundland 

All that night long we did lament for our departed friend
And we were prayin’ unto God for what had been his end
We prayed that God would guide us and keep us by his hand
And send us fair wind while at sea bound down for Newfoundland.
     Bound down for Newfoundland.