Search

 

Digital Library

Browse sound recordings, images, videos, and manuscripts. Filter your results by using one of the collection tags. To learn more about how tags are defined visit the Definitions Page.

The bonny bunch of roses

Anthony Power

The bonny bunch of roses / Anthony Power

The bonny bunch of roses, song (I overheard a female talking …) The lyrics of this ballad take the form of a conversation between Napoleon Bonaparte’s widow and his son. She warns her son of the danger of challenging England, Ireland, and Scotland—the bonny bunch of roses—and the folly of attacking Russia.  Anthony’s version omits some of the lines that clarify the relationship of the characters, but the singer compensates by rearranging the order of the verses to create a coherent narrative. Most notably, the characters of Napoleon and his son are merged. Historically inaccurate, the song tells a tale of military expansion, of resistance met, and of the ultimate defeat of the invading forces by the opposing allies.

PDF | 

Downloads

Metadata (Dublin Core)

Morrissey and the Russian bear

Denis McGrath

Morrissey and the Russian bear / Denis McGrath

Morrissey and the Russian bear, song (Come all ye gallant Irishmen wherever that you be …) This ballad relates the tale of 19th-century Irish prize-fighter Johnny Morrissey and a boxing match that lasted twenty-eight rounds between him and a Russian sailor

PDF | 

Downloads

Metadata (Dublin Core)

Paddy in New York

John Joe English

Paddy in New York / John Joe English

Paddy in New York, song (Of an elderly man I'm going to tell you …) This comic song tells the story of an Irishman who goes to live in New York. Outraged when a barman overcharges for whiskey, he starts a fight, kills the barman, and is supported by other Irishmen in New York.

PDF | 

Downloads

Metadata (Dublin Core)

The northeast gale

 Denis McGrath

The northeast gale / Denis McGrath

The northeast gale, song (Ye hardy sons of Newfoundland pay attention to my song ...) Composed by Walt Young, this song tells the story of a gale that arose off the coast of Newfoundland on 18 June 1906. Several fishing craft from Placentia Bay that were fishing off Cape St Mary’s were caught in the storm and men were lost at sea.

PDF | 

Downloads

Metadata (Dublin Core)

Colonna's lone shore

Denis McGrath

Colonna's lone shore / Denis McGrath

Colonna's lone shore, song (I will sing the word of young wandering Nellie ...) Written by Andrew Sharpe during the early 19th century, this song describes the death of a soldier at the Battle of Corunna on 16 January 1809. The focus, however, is on the reaction of the soldier’s sweetheart when word of his death arrives back in Scotland. Song collector Robert Ford writes in Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland:  “Andrew Sharpe had observed that, since Herdman’s departure, Ellen Rankine was greatly changed. Her passionate blue eyes had begun to fade, and her luxuriant brown hair, the pride of better days, to get tangled and dry; but when the news of his death came she sank into helpless idiocy, and despite the careful watchings of her distressed parents, she stole from them in a luckless moment, and, taking the back of the hill, went crooning and singing for a whole week away through the Howe of Strathmore” (1904:84).

PDF | 

Downloads

Metadata (Dublin Core)

Fireman's story of a brave volunteer, recitation

John Joe English

Fireman's story of a brave volunteer, recitation / John Joe English

This recitation tells the story of the heroic deeds of a train engineer who rescues a woman from being run down by a train. He is grossly disfigured in the incident, but she nevertheless falls in love with him and proposes marriage.

PDF | 

Downloads

Metadata (Dublin Core)

The cottage by the sea

Jack Mooney

The cottage by the sea / Jack Mooney

The cottage by the sea, song (To a little seaside village came a youth one summer's day …) Jack Mooney learned this song from his mother, Esther (Careen) Mooney, who was originally from Point Lance, Newfoundland. This song tells the story of a young man who visits a seaside village. He engages in what he thinks is a harmless flirtation with a local woman, leaving her at the end of the summer. He returns a year later when he realises that he loves her, but discovers that she has died of a broken heart.  This song was recorded as “Just goodbye I am going home,” by American old-time singer-songwriter Roy Harvey on 9 September 1930 (Columbia 15609-D). 

PDF | 

Downloads

Metadata (Dublin Core)

The days of the week

Stan McGrath

The days of the week / Stan McGrath

The days of the week, song (On Monday morning as I roved out …) Also known as “A week’s matrimony” or “The woeful marriage,” this comic broadside ballad tells the story of a whirlwind courtship and marriage that ends in violence and mental instability.  Stan McGrath learned this song while working away from the Cape Shore in the lumberwoods.

PDF | 

Downloads

Metadata (Dublin Core)

The lady in the east

Bride Judge

The lady in the east / Bride Judge

The lady in the east, song (There was a lady in the east …) This broadside ballad tells a tale of murder and heartbreak. A young woman falls in love with her father’s clerk; she persists with the romance despite her father’s objections. Her father then shoots her and her lover commits suicide. In Songs of the Newfoundland Outports 3, Kenneth Peacock observes that this ballad seems to have survived mainly in Atlantic Canada (1965:726–8).

PDF | 

Downloads

Metadata (Dublin Core)

Jack was a sailor on board a whaler

Caroline Brennan

Jack was a sailor on board a whaler / Caroline Brennan

Jack was a sailor on board a whaler, song (Jack was a sailor on board of a whaler ...) This children’s son features a sailor named Jack. A friend asks him to pay a debt, and Jack responds, “You’ll have to wait till my ship comes in.” When Jack later survives a shipwreck and his friend makes the same demand, Jack gives the same excuse.  Though the song follows a standard verse-and-refrain form, the metric structure of the song is somewhat unusual: verses are sung in triple metre and choruses are in duple metre, matching shifts in the narration from third to first person.

PDF | 

Downloads

Metadata (Dublin Core)

The Irish colleen

Jack Mooney

The Irish colleen / Jack Mooney

The Irish colleen, song (I went to a party consisting of four …) This song describes a party at which four toasts are proposed: a Welsh girl toasts a leek, a Scottish girl toasts a thistle, an English girl toasts a rose, and an Irish girl toasts a shamrock and Ireland.

PDF | 

Downloads

Metadata (Dublin Core)

The dewy dells of Yarrow

John Joe English

The dewy dells of Yarrow / John Joe English

The dewy dells of Yarrow, song (There was a man lived in this town …) This song is a variant of the border ballad, “The Dowie Dens of Yarrow.” It tells the story of a fight between a poor ploughman and nine brothers.  John Joe English learned it from a man who used to stop by the fish stores where he worked. 

PDF | 

Downloads

Metadata (Dublin Core)