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Penguin: The New York Trader


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The New York Trader (from The Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs)

Alan of Australia 19 Mar 00 - 02:53 AM
Joe Offer 13 Jan 05 - 02:49 AM
Malcolm Douglas 13 Jan 05 - 07:44 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Jan 05 - 10:17 PM
Malcolm Douglas 13 Jan 05 - 10:34 PM
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Subject: Penguin: The New York Trader ^^
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 02:53 AM

From the Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs, Ed Pellow's rendition of the tune of The New York Trader (Child #57) can be found here.


To a New York trader I did belong,
She was built for sea, both stout and strong,
Well rigged 'well manned, well fit for sea;
She was bound for New York in Ameriky.

Our cruel captain, as we did find,
Left half of our provisions behind.
Our cruel captain, as we understand,
Meant to starve us all before we made the land.

At length our hunger grew very great.
We had but little on board to eat,
And we were in necessity,
All by our captain's cruelty.

Our captain in his cabin lay.
A voice came to him and thus did say.
'Prepare yourself and ship's company,
For tomorrow night you shall lay with me.'

Our captain woke in a terrible fright,
It being the first watch of the night,
Aloud for his bo'sun he did call,
And to him related the secret all.

'Bo'sun,' said he, 'it grieves my heart
To think I have acted a villain's part,
To take what was not my lawful due,
To starve the passengers and the ship's crew.

'There is one thing more I have to tell -
When I in Waterford town did dwell,
I killed my master, a merchant there,
All for the sake of his lady fair.

'I killed my wife and children three,
All through that cursed jealousy,
And on my servant I laid the blame,
And hanged he was all for the same.'

'Captain,' said he, 'if that be so,
Pray let none of your ship's crew know,
But keep your secret within your breast,
And pray to God to give you rest.'

Early next morning a storm did rise,
Which our seamen did much surprise;
The sea was over us, both fore and aft,
Till scarce a man on deck was left.

Then the bo'sun he did declare
That our captain was a murderer.
It so enraged the whole ship's crew
They overboard their captain threw.

When this was done a calm was there,
Our good little ship homeward did steer,
The wind abated and calmed the sea,
And we sailed safe to Ameriky.

And when we came to anchor there,
Our good little ship for to repair,
The people wondered much to see
What a poor distressed shipwrecked crew were we.

Sung by Ted Goffin, Catfield, Norfolk (E.J.M. 1921)

Click here for another version. Also search the DT for #57.

Previous song: Mother, Mother, Make My Bed.
Next song: O Shepherd, O Shepherd.

Penguin Index provided by Joe Offer

Alan ^^

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Subject: RE: Penguin: The New York Trader
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 02:49 AM

Here are the notes from Penguin:

    The New York Trader (FSJ VII 2)

    Britain has a group of ballads in which a criminal on board a ship is detected by supernatural means. These include "Brown Robyn's Confession" (Child 57), "The Gosport Tragedy," "Sir William Gower," and "William Glenn," with which the New York Trader is sometimes confused. In fact, all three latter songs seem to derive from an older ballad called The Pirate, in which the ship is bound for New Barbary, not for 'New York in Ameriky'. The New York Trader evidently enjoyed a vogue in the nineteenth century. It was frequently published by provincial broadside firms, and Catnach, in London, found it worth issuing at least three times. Alfred Williams collected a version in Wiltshire (WUP 265—6) and Cecil Sharp reported two Somerset versions of the closely related "Sir William Gower" (FSJ V 263—4). The ballad called "The Sailor and the Ghost" or "The Man and the Two Maidens" (FSJ VII 46—7) belongs to the same family of songs.

Penguin differentiates between "New York Trader" and "william Glen." The Traditional Ballad Index classes them together. Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index:

Captain Glen/The New York Trader (The Guilty Sea Captain A/B) [Laws K22]

DESCRIPTION: A ship sets out to sea; many of the crew become ill. The captain has a dream which causes him to reveal his dreadful crimes to the boatswain. In the face of a severe storm, the boatswain reveals the captain's sins. He is tossed overboard; the storm abates
AUTHOR: unknown
KEYWORDS: ship crime execution revenge storm
FOUND IN: Canada(Mar) Britain(England,Scotland) US(MA,SE)
REFERENCES (8 citations):
Bronson (57 Ñ Appendix to "Brown Robyn's Confession"), 10 versions
Laws K22, "Captain Glen/The New York Trader (The Guilty Sea Captain A/B)"
Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, pp. 72-73, "The New York Trader" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's 10}
Chappell-FSRA 35, "Captain Glen" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #3}
Logan, pp. 47-50, "Captain Glen's Unhappy Voyage to New Barbary" (1 text)
Leach, pp. 697-698, "William Glen" (1 text)
BBI, ZN2534, "There was a ship, and a ship of fame"

Roud #478
cf. "Brown Robin's Confession" [Child 57]
cf. "Cruel Ship's Carpenter, The (The Gosport Tragedy; Pretty Polly)" [Laws P36A/B]
cf. "Sir William Gower"
cf. "The Pirate"
cf. "The Sailor and the Ghost"
cf. "The Man and the Two Maidens"
William Guiseman
Sie William Gower
File: LK22

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2004 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.

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Subject: RE: Penguin: The New York Trader
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 07:44 PM

On the subject of The Pirate (which appears to have been a mistake on Lloyd's part), see the revised edition of "Penguin": Classic English Folk Songs.

Obviously I'm not going to post the details here, as the book is still available from EFDSS, and needs to be sold in order to finance more publishing ventures.

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Subject: RE: Penguin: The New York Trader
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 10:17 PM

"The New York Trader," a version sung by Mrs. John Mahoney, Stock Cove, Nfld, is similar to the Nova Scotia version in the DT. A tune is given. The Captain's name is William Gore, and he had dwelled in Wexford when he did the deed.
Kenneth Peacock, "Songs of the Newfoundland Outports," vol. 2, pp. 396-397.

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Subject: RE: Penguin: The New York Trader
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 10:34 PM

Lloyd differentiated between William Glen and New York Trader because they aren't really the same song; though obviously related. I'd tend to class the latter as a later broadside derivative of the former, for what that's worth. Child suggested a possible derivation for both from the 17th century English broadside ballad William Grismond.

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