“Early Spring”
Pamela Morgan
From the album Ancestral Songs, 2005
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Words and tune:

  • Traditional

Locations associated with this song:

Background Info:

Known outside Newfoundland as "The Sailor and His Bride" (and to scholars as Laws K10), this lament is sung from here to the Carolinas. In the 1860s, a printed song-sheet helped spread it around North America. Charlotte Decker of Parsons Pond sang it for the Canadian song collector Kenneth Peacock in 1958. She learned it from her mother about 1890. The Newfoundland version is different – some say improved – from the version known in the United States; Peacock called it "one of the most poignant lyrics in traditional English verse."
Dr. Philip Hiscock, Sing Around this One...Songs of Newfoundland & Labrador –Volume 2
© Vinland Music. Reproduced with permission


EARLY SPRING – Traditional

Early spring when I was young,
The birds so merrily have sung;
Was there ever a bird so happy as I
When my young sailor lad was nigh?

'Tis six long months since I've been wed,
The times so merrily have fled;
But tomorrow morning by the dawning of the day,
The ocean presses my love away.

The time rolled on and he came no more
To see his bride on the ocean shore;
His ship she went down by the rolling of the storm,
And in the deep my love doth mourn.

I wish I were a-sleeping, too,
In the arms of my true love in the ocean blue;
My soul to my God and my body in the sea,
And the white waves rolling over me.

The eastern star is shining clear,
The day o'er-breaks on the ocean near;
The sailor lies low and his lovely bride,
Is weeping by the ocean-side.

from Sing Around this One...Songs of Newfoundland & Labrador –Volume 2

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