The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #56663   Message #887767
Posted By: Malcolm Douglas
11-Feb-03 - 12:28 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: The Bonny Moon
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Bonny Moon

(Noted on the ships Euphrasia [1849] and Cortes [1847])

I strayed from my cot at the close of the day,
To muse on the beauties of June
By the Jessamin shade I espied a fair maid
And she sadly complained to the moon
Roll on silver moon guide the traveller his way
While the nightingale sings in tune
For never never more with my love will I stray
By the sweet silver light of the moon.

It's a hart on the mountain my lover was brave
So handsome so manly to view
So kind and sincere and he loved me so dear
Edwin my love was more true
But now he is dead and the youth once so gay
Is cut down like a rose in full bloom
But he silently sleeps while I'm left thus to weep
By the sweet silver light of the moon.

But his grave I'll seek out until morning appears
And weep for my lover so brave
I'll embrace the cold earth and bedew with my tears
The flowers that bloom o'er his grave
Oh never again can my heart throb with joy
My lost one I hope to meet soon
And king friends will weep o'er the grave where we sleep,
By the sweet silver light of the moon.

Gale Huntington, Songs the Whalemen Sang, 1964; reprinted Dover, 1970.

Huntington includes this in the section "Parlor Songs that went to Sea". He notes:

"In the Euphrasia version of "Silvery Moon" there is this notation, "Roll on silver moon, etc." which may indicate that the last four lines of the first stanza were sung as a refrain or chorus. The opening lines of the Cortes version read:

As I went to my cot at the close of the day
'Twas about the beginning of June.

I doubt if many would call this a true folk song, but Williams includes it in his Folk Songs of the Upper Thames, p. 128."

The Cortes, out of New Bedford, 1847. MS book of songs collected by William Histed. New Bedford Public Library, New Bedford, Mass.
The Euphrasia, out of New Bedford, 1849. Journal/log, Peabody Museum, Sale, Mass.

Huntington doesn't specify the source of the tune he prints; presumably, though, not the MSS indicated above. In fact, it's almost identical to the tune at the Midi Pages (though, having been generated by Noteworthy, that one is full of what I take to be unintended rests); here it is anyway, for comparison.

T:Silvery Moon
B:Gale Huntington, Songs the Whalemen Sang, 1964.
N:Text: William Histed, MS songbook (Ship Cortes, 1847).
N:Text: Log of the Ship Euphrasia, New Bedford, 1849.
N:The tune has been added from another, unnamed source.
F3/ 2E/|D2 DF (BA) FD|C2 E F G2 (ED)|
w:I_ strayed from my cot_ at the close of the day, To_
C2 EF G2 BA|F6 DE|FF F2 F2 ED|
w:muse on the beau-ties of June By the Jes-sa-min shade I es-
dd d2 (dB) GE|(DF) BA (AG) EC|
w:pied a fair maid_ And she sad-*ly com-plained_ to the
D6 (FE)|D2 DF (BA) FD|C2 EF G2 ED|
w:moon Roll_on sil-ver moon_ guide the trav-eller his way While the
C2 EF G2 (BA)|A6 DE|FF FF F2 ED|
w:night-in-gale sings in_ tune For_ ne-ver ne-ver more with my
d2 dd (dB) GE|(DF) B3/2 A/ A2 GE|D6|]
w:love will I stray_ By the sweet_ sil-ver light of the moon.