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Origins: Canadian Boat Song (Thomas Moore)

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Tune Req: Canadian Boat Song (11)


GUEST,John Leeder 13 Jun 01 - 03:57 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 13 Jun 01 - 05:57 PM
Malcolm Douglas 13 Jun 01 - 07:59 PM
Metchosin 14 Jun 01 - 12:06 AM
georgeward 14 Jun 01 - 03:07 AM
Metchosin 14 Jun 01 - 03:32 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 14 Jun 01 - 06:16 AM
georgeward 15 Jun 01 - 03:08 AM
GUEST,John Leeder 15 Jun 01 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,John Leeder 15 Jun 01 - 01:10 PM
GUEST,Guest: Janet Sisson 15 Jun 01 - 08:14 PM
Barry T 15 Jun 01 - 09:16 PM
Metchosin 15 Jun 01 - 09:36 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 16 Jun 01 - 07:21 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 16 Jun 01 - 07:35 AM
Metchosin 17 Jun 01 - 01:45 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 17 Jun 01 - 02:00 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 17 Jun 01 - 02:04 AM
Metchosin 17 Jun 01 - 02:07 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 17 Jun 01 - 08:33 AM
GUEST,Janet Sisson 17 Jun 01 - 09:00 PM
Malcolm Douglas 17 Jun 01 - 09:41 PM
Metchosin 19 Jun 01 - 05:30 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Jul 04 - 02:13 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Mar 07 - 01:58 PM
JennieG 10 Mar 07 - 06:22 PM
Jim Dixon 05 Jun 08 - 09:12 PM
meself 06 Jun 08 - 12:14 AM
Beer 06 Jun 08 - 12:19 AM
topical tom 06 Jun 08 - 11:15 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 Jul 14 - 04:37 PM
GUEST 06 Sep 16 - 11:28 AM
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Subject: Canadian Boat Song
From: GUEST,John Leeder
Date: 13 Jun 01 - 03:57 PM

Does anyone know of a melody for the poem "Canadian Boat Song", and where to find it? I'm sure I've seen it as a song, but a search through my small but not very carefully chosen library has drawn a blank.

A friend of mine is researching this for a stage presentation (poems recited to harp accompaniment), and would like to use the accepted melody, if there is one.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 13 Jun 01 - 05:57 PM

IF you come up with the tune, please let me know. I've seen the words for many years, but like yourself, never heard it sung or seen music for it.


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Subject: Lyr Add: CANADIAN BOAT SONG (Thomas Moore)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 13 Jun 01 - 07:59 PM

Assuming you mean the Thomas Moore lyric, see Lesley Nelson's site: :
Canadian Boat Song  (Sequenced by Barry Taylor).
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. Ann's our parting hymn
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.

Why should we yet our sail unfurl
There is not a breath the blue wave to curl
There is not a breath the blue wave to curl
But when the wind blows off the shore
Oh, sweetly we'll rest the weary oar
Blow, breezes, blow, the stream runs fast
The rapids are near and the daylight's past
The rapids are near and the daylight's past.

lyrics pasted in by Joe Offer


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: Metchosin
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 12:06 AM

The tune comes from an old French folk song, "Dans mon chemin j'ai rencontré" according to Edith Fowke. I have the sheet music for it if you would like a copy.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: georgeward
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 03:07 AM

Nelson's site, like most sources I've seen, gives two verses of this song. An 1811 songster that comes down to me from my great grandfather includes a third:

Utawa's tide, this trembling moon,
Shall see us float over thy surges soon;
Saint of this green isle, hear our pray'rs,
Oh, grant us cool heavens, and favoring airs.
Blow breezes, blow, etc...

Any Moore scholars have opinions on its authenticity ?
-George ::-.--O


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: Metchosin
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 03:32 AM

georgeward, Fowke includes that verse in her Folksongs of Canada as well.

From Fowkes notes:

Although this song is often included in collections to represent Canada, it is hardly typical of Canadian folk songs. The words are by the Irish poet, Thomas Moore (1779-1852). After a visit to Canada in 1804 he said: "I wrote these words to an air which our boatman sang to us frequently. The wind was so unfavourable that they were obliged to row us all the way, and we were descending the river from Kingston to Montreal...Our voyageurs had good voices and sang perfectly in tune together." During the next fifty years the song gained popularity in Britain, and was printed in some New England broadsides.

further:

.....Moore's verses have little in common with genuine voyageur songs, which are considerably livelier and less genteel.

St. Anne was regarded as the patron saint of travellers, and her church stood on the western tip of Montreal Island where the Ottawa flows into the St. Lawrence. There the fur brigades made their last halt before heading into the wilderness.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 06:16 AM

Thanks, Metchosin, for the background. Guess that's why I don't know it. I wonder why, as an Irish poet, this song is often put into books where it (without any explanation) would be thought a Scottish derived song.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: georgeward
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 03:08 AM

Thanks from me, too. Fiils in several blanks (incuding the meaning of "Utawa"). -George ::-.--O


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: GUEST,John Leeder
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 12:02 PM

Thanks for all the help; I'm passing the info on to my friend who made the original quesy.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: GUEST,John Leeder
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 01:10 PM

Turns out Folk Songs of Canada was on my shelf all the time. My copy went missing for years, but I recently bought a new copy, then forgot about it. So this had the side benefit of putting me in touch with my roots again.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: GUEST,Guest: Janet Sisson
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 08:14 PM

I was the person who made the original query. The song I am looking for a tune for is not the Thomas Moore one, but one claimed to have been translated from Scots Gaelic, although more probably written by some Scots poet.

I have the complete words and some history, but do not know if there is a tune for it.

It begins thus:

Fair these broad meads - these hoary woods are grand; But we are exiles from our fathers' land.

Listen to me, as when ye heard our father Sing long ago the song of other shores - Listen to me, and then in chorus gather All your deep voices, as ye pull your oars.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: Barry T
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 09:16 PM

'Found an informative link here. In fact there are a couple of pages of references if you use a search engine to seek "hoary woods"... but, as you say Janet, no melody.

I know of an excellent reference book of Gaelic tunes (including notation) in my local library. I may be able to find it there.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: Metchosin
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 09:36 PM

Great lyrics, its too bad Thomas Moore's seem to be the one's noted in Canadian folk music anthologies rather than those ones. Moore's certainly lack power and depth by comparison.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 16 Jun 01 - 07:21 AM

Janet, I don't know the song. Who performed it? IS there more information on it?


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 16 Jun 01 - 07:35 AM

I've looked at the two web-sites which talk about it, but they both seem to call it a poem. They don't give any details on the Gaelic which it comes from. Will look further.


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Subject: Lyr Add: EISDIBH RIM' DHA`N-SA MAR A DH'E`ISD...
From: Metchosin
Date: 17 Jun 01 - 01:45 AM

George, according to this site it's one of 150 Scottish songs we all know and love and the authorship seems to be of considerable controversey.

To keep Joe happy, here are the words in Gaelic

Eisdibh rim' dha`n-sa mar a dh'e`isd sibh riusan
A sheinn le sunnd dhuibh ann an tir nam beann;
An luinneag thu`rsach togaibh suas gu la`ider,
'S biodh neart nan la`mh a cur a bha`t na deann.

Seisd:
Tha 'n talamh fial 's gur briagh na coilltean aosd;
Ach 's fo`g'raich sinn bhe thi`r 's bha shluagh ar gaoil.

Eadar am fonn so`s botghhain chaoin ar ca`irdean
Tha beanntan a`rda 's fa`sach de thuinn dhoirbh;
Ach tha ar cridheachan 'san tir 'thog suas sinn,
'S gur tric na'r bruadair sinn my cluain tibh gorm;

A chaoidh cha'n fhaic sinnglinn is cnoic na h-a`illeachd,
Le 'n uilltghlan gha`ireach 'ruith a sios gu re`idh;
Cha'n fhaic sinn sluagh le uaill mu'n triath an ordugh,
No leac nan seo`d 'budileas, teo`m, 'san streup;

Nuair bha ar sinnsre iomahh linn roimh 'n la` so,
A' dion le'n claidhmhnean a`ite taimh na saors.
Cha robh ac' smuain gun cuirt' an clann a` 'n d`uthaich,
Gu tuilleach bhr`uidean 'thoirt do dh'uiachd 'rain bhaothi.

Ma chruinnicheas feachd an aghaidh Bhreatuinn mho`rail,
Bidh feum air connspuinn chro`dha, dhian, nachge'iff,
Ach c'a`it am bi aid anns an t`ir r'am faotuinn,
'S na Gaihheil aobhach thar nan cuan gu le'ir?


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 17 Jun 01 - 02:00 AM

Thanks for the words. I certainly do NOT recognize the song as anything I've heard in the last 10 years of learning Gaelic.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 17 Jun 01 - 02:04 AM

The articles are VERY interesting. NOw we have to find some of those books and magazine articles.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: Metchosin
Date: 17 Jun 01 - 02:07 AM

And I don't recognize the English words either George but maybe someone from the UK can help, because it seems to be sung in Scotland.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 17 Jun 01 - 08:33 AM

Neither had I. I've seen the Moore song, but hadn't heard it. Now we have another one, and I'll have to find the tune for it, so that I can show it to other Gaelic performers.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: GUEST,Janet Sisson
Date: 17 Jun 01 - 09:00 PM

Very useful discussion. Thank you. Here is the information I collected in my original investigations.

There is a dispute about the authorship of this song, which was first published in Blackwood's Magazine for September 1829.

Various articles are contained in Canadian Poetry No. 06, Spring/Summer, 1980

The "Canadian Boat-Song": A Mosaic Compiled by D.M.R. Bentley I. The Text II. The Authorship of the "Canadian Boat-Song": A Bibliographical Noteby Linda Dowler III. John Galt and "The Lone Shieling" by Elizabeth Waterston IV. Tiger Dunlop and the "Canadian Boat-Song" by Gary Draper

From: 'Tiger Dunlop and the "Canadian Boat-Song" ' by Gary Draper

"The poem, of course, was first introduced in the "Noctes Ambrosianae" section of Blackwoods' Magazine, a brew of politics, literary gossip, and wit in the form of a convivial dialogue among the Blackwoodian fellowship. It would be impossible to draw a clear line between what in the "Noctes" was borrowed from life and what was pure invention. When "Christopher North" (who is understood to be John Wilson) introduces the poem, he explains that a friend "now in Upper Canada" has sent a translation of a Gaelic song sung by the Highland boat men of the St. Lawrence. Dr. William Dunlop, who was a friend of Wilson, was in Upper Canada at the time; that, in essence, is the argument for Dunlop's authorship.

"What constitutes the argument against? William Dunlop is not known ever to have written another line of poetry in his life."


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 17 Jun 01 - 09:41 PM

Indeed, very interesting; it would have saved everybody a lot of time, however, if you had favoured us with that information at the beginning of the discussion.  Having trawled through interminable volumes of Blackwoods in the past, I can at least confirm that much of the material contained in it was submitted pseudonymously, and that it is not safe to believe attributions given in it unless they are specifically confirmed elsewhere.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: Metchosin
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 05:30 AM

Come on Malcolm, half the fun is in the search, it only took about ten minutes on the Net, and I for one enjoyed the digging.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Boat Song
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Jul 04 - 02:13 PM

The "Canadian Boat Song" by Moore appeared in American printings as well. It was published with five pages of music in G. J. Webb and Lowell Mason, 1837, pp. 272-276, "The Odeon: A Selection of Secular Melodies." Pub. G. J. Webb and R. B. Carter, Boston.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Canadian Boat Song
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Mar 07 - 01:58 PM

H. De Masran also published the lyrics in a song sheet in 1860. American Memory.
The song sheet has an unusual border, called "The Trapper," which features a trapper, a skinner, a banjo player, a bonneted Indian smoking a pipe, and a rabbit and a squirrel.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Canadian Boat Song
From: JennieG
Date: 10 Mar 07 - 06:22 PM

In the early 60s I learnt this song in a school choir, in a New South Wales country town. Pretty tune, but the words didn't make much sense to Aussie country kids. But then, neither did much of what we sang in that choir.

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: Lyr Add: A CANADIAN BOAT SONG (Thomas Moore)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 09:12 PM

From Poetry by Thomas Moore, 1903.

A CANADIAN BOAT SONG
Thomas Moore

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. Ann's our parting hymn.
Row, brothers, row, the stream runs fast,
The Rapids are near and the daylight's past.

Why should we yet our sail unfurl?
There is not a breath the blue wave to curl;
But, when the wind blows off the shore,
Oh! sweetly we'll rest our weary oar.
Blow, breezes, blow, the stream runs fast,
The Rapids are near and the daylight's past.

Utawas' tide! this trembling moon
Shall see us float over thy surges soon.
Saint of this green isle! hear our prayers,
Oh, grant us cool heavens, and favouring airs.
Blow, breezes, blow, the stream runs fast,
The Rapids are near and the daylight's past.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Canadian Boat Song
From: meself
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 12:14 AM

I never saw or heard this song before in my life. And I call myself a Canadian ...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Canadian Boat Song
From: Beer
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 12:19 AM

I'm with you on this one myself. I mean meself.
Beer (adrien)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Canadian Boat Song
From: topical tom
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 11:15 AM

Fascinating! A good song. I never saw or heard it before either.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Canadian Boat Song (Thomas Moore)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 Jul 14 - 04:37 PM

Jim Dixon correctly placed the apostrophe after Utawas, which is the name of a river that forms part of the boundary between Upper and Lower Canada.

The Utawas also were a small group of Indians.

The tune is based on a voyageur song, ""Dans mon chemin."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Canadian Boat Song (Thomas Moore)
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Sep 16 - 11:28 AM

I am also interested in the music for this poem:

Either for flute or for piano will be nice.
Can some one help?

JM


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