“A Canadian Boat Song”

Author: Thomas Moore
Earliest date: c. 1804
Keywords: river nonballad
Found in: Canada

Description

"Faintly as tolls the evening chime, Our voices keep tune and our oars keep time.... Soon as the woods on shore look dim, We'll sing at St. Anne's our parting hymn." An encouragement to and prayer for good rowing when there is no wind

Supplemental text

Canadian Boat Song, A
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From Edith Fulton Fowke, editor, and Richard Johnston, music editor,
Folk Songs of Canada (first edition), pp. 60-61. No source listed;
probably from a printed source and not traditional.

Faintly as tolls the evening chime,
Our voices keep tune and our oars keep time,
Our voices keep tune and our oars keep time,
Soon as the woods on shore look dim,
We'll sing at St. Anne's our parting hymn.

Refrain (1):
Row, brothers, row, the stream runs fast,
The rapids are near and the daylight's past,
The rapids are near and the daylight's past.

(2 additional stanzas)

Notes

Moore's poem is sung to a French folk tune, "Dans mon chemin j'ai rencontre," but the result does not qualify as a voyageur piece and does not seem to have circulated extensively in oral tradition. (Granger's Index to Poetry cites three anthologies, but none of them folk-influenced.)

Moore wrote it after a visit to Canada during which he sailed from Kingston to Montreal. The winds on this trip were so poor that the sailors were obliged to row the whole way; hence the poem. - RBW

References

  1. Fowke/Johnston, pp. 60-61, "A Canadian Boat Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. ST FJ060 (Partial)
  3. Roud #13847
  4. BI, FJ060