Farewell to Nova Scotia
"Farewell to Nova Scotia" is a popular folk song from Nova Scotia that is a corruption of the 1791 Scottish folk song "The Soldier's Adieu", printed in 1803 in a Glasgow newspaper and attributed to Robert Tannahill. When the song began to be adapted by Nova Scotians is unknown.
In the 1930s, Folklorist Helen Creighton collected versions of the folk song from different communities along the eastern shore of Nova Scotia, such as Devils Island (Nova Scotia). She first collected the song in 1933 from Ann Greenough in Petpeswick, Nova Scotia.
The song appears in the Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs. The song is catalogued as Roud Folk Song Index No. 384.
The 1791 Scottish folk song "The Soldier's Adieu" was first printed in 1803 in a Glasgow newspaper and attributed to Robert Tannahill. Philip A. Ramsay's 1838 edition of The Works of Robert Tannahill. With Life of the Author printed the first stanza of the song. Then Alexander Whitelaw published it in the 1843 edition of The Book of Scottish Song. David Semple then published it in his 1874 edition of The Poems and Songs of Robert Tannahill.
In the 1930s, Folklorist Helen Creighton collected versions of the folk song, now entitled "Farewell to Nova Scotia", from different communities along the eastern shore of Nova Scotia, such as Devils Island (Nova Scotia). She first collected the song in 1933 from Ann Greenough in Petpeswick, Nova Scotia. Another version of "The Soldier's Adieu" was also recorded in the 1940s in Quebec entitled, "On the Banks of Jeddore".
Both the tune and lyrics are public domain, and many artists have released recordings of "Farewell to Nova Scotia", including Tommy Makem, Gordon Lightfoot, Stan Rogers, The Irish Rovers, Ryan's Fancy, Harry Hibbs, Ian and Sylvia Tyson, Wolf Creek Session, Anne Murray, Touchstone, Stompin' Tom Connors, the Celtic punk band Real McKenzies, Schooner Fare, Wicked Tinkers, Battlefield Band, Alex Beaton, Aselin Debison, Donner Party Reunion, Dan Zanes, Moist, 70s/80s Irish band Oisin, Sons of Maxwell, as well as the Gaelic folk trio Na h-Òganaich on their album Scot-Free. It was recorded by the Czech group, Asonance, with the title of "Nové Skotsko" (New Scotia) on their album "Čarodějnice z Amesbury" (The Witch of Amesbury). The Halifax CBC TV show "Singalong Jubilee" used Catherine McKinnon's version as the title theme.
Farewell[n 1] to Nova Scotia, the sea-bound coast[n 2],
let your mountains dark and dreary[n 3] be.
for when I am far away on the briny ocean tossed,
Will you ever heave a sigh or a wish for me?
The sun was setting in the west,
The birds were singing on every tree.
All nature seemed inclined to rest
But still there was no rest for me.
I grieve to leave my native land,
I grieve to leave my comrades all,
And my aging parents whom I've always loved so dear,
And the bonnie, bonnie lass[n 4] that I do adore.
The drums they do beat and the wars do alarm,[n 5]
The captain calls, I must obey.
Farewell, farewell to Nova Scotia's charms,
For it's early in the morning and I'm far, far away.
I have three brothers and they are at rest,
Their arms are folded on their chest.
But a poor simple sailor just like me,
Must be tossed and turned in the deep dark sea.
- 'Farewell', in some renditions, is sung "fare-thee-well"
- "Sea-bound coast" has also been sung as "sea-bound shore(s)" and "may your mountains" has been sung as "let your mountains".
- 'dreary' is often pronounced "/drɪəraɪ/" (drear-i)
- 'lass' is sometimes sung "lassie" or (according to the singer's preference) "lad" or "laddie"
- "The drums they do beat and the wars do alarm" is sometimes sung "The drums they do beat the wars' alarm" or "The drums they do beat for the wars to alarm", meaning that the drums are beating a call to arms
- "Linda Craig. The Scottish Origins of "Farewell to Nova Scotia". DalSpace. 1970" (PDF). Retrieved December 18, 2018.
- See also her book Traditional Songs from Nova Scotia, 1950
- "Helen Creighton Folklore Society: Songs". www.helencreighton.org. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
- Philip A. Ramsay. The Works of Robert Tannahill. With Life of the Author. 1838, p. 98
- Whitelaw, Alexander (December 18, 2018). "The book of Scottish song :". Glasgow ; Edinburgh and London : Blackie and Son. Retrieved December 18, 2018 – via Internet Archive.
- Tannahill, Robert; Semple, David (December 18, 1874). "The poems and songs of Robert Tannahill". Paisley : A. Gardner. Retrieved December 18, 2018 – via Internet Archive.
- Canadian Geographic. Royal Canadian Geographical Society. 2006.
- Dave Bidini (March 5, 2010). Around the World in 57 1/2 Gigs. McClelland & Stewart. pp. 309–. ISBN 978-1-55199-149-8.