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Canada I O
(Roud 309)
Martin Howley
Fanore, north west Clare
Recorded in singer's home, summer 1975

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Martin Howley

And it’s of a merchant’s daughter who lived in a prime of years.
She fell in love with a sailor boy, tis true she loved him dear.
And how to get on board with him, this fair one did not know,
For she longed to see that grand city called Canada Hi-Ho.

And she bargained with the sailors all for a purse of gold.
Immediately they did comply, to keep her in the hold.
We’ll dress her up in sailor’s clothes and the captain he will not know.
And tis short til she see that grand city called Canada Hi-Ho.

But when her true lover heard of it he flew into rage.
Within the crew and passengers, were willing to engage.
‘We’ll tie her up both hands and feet, and it’s overboard she’ll go,
For shel never shall see that grand city called Canada Hi-Ho.’

But when the lady heard of it her heart was full of woe.
She says, ‘My false-hearted young man pray why did you say so?
I have left my friends for love of you, and the captain he do not know,
And now you’re going to drown me going to Canada Hi-Ho.’

But when the Captain he heard of it he flew into rage
He said, ‘If you drown this maiden, it’s hanged you’ll surely be.
I’ll keep her in my cabin when the stormy winds do blow,
And tis short til she see that grand city called Canada Hi-Ho.’

And after ploughing the raging seas the weather got calm and clear.
The captain he fell in love with her, and married her now we hear.
It’s now she’s dressed in silks and satins, she wears a gorgeous show.
And she’s now the captain’s lady o’er in Canada Hi-Ho.


"This seems to be a re-write of the song ‘Caledonia’ (Roud 5543); it has been found fairly widely in the later form in Britain and in Newfoundland and only once in Ireland, in Coleraine. McEdward Leach wrote of it:

"O-Canada’ also known as 'The Wearing of the Blue' and 'Caledonia' is a traditional Canadian and English folk ballad. It is believed to have been written before 1839.”

Reference:
Folk Ballads and Songs of the Labrador Coast, McEdward Leach, National Museum of Canada, 1965.
Jim Carroll


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