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Lyr Req: Rocks of Scilly

21 Mar 05 - 10:32 AM (#1439673)
Subject: Rocks of Scilly
From: Mr Red

A question was asked at the Dragon FC UK (Shortwood Bristol Fri - Bridge Inn)

Sorry - can't remember the Guy's name & the song may have been "the Rocks of Scilly" but - this is what I found

Mudcat ref with tune

ABC tunefinder ref

I expect to hear the song next time I go - OK?

Click to play tunefinder tune

21 Mar 05 - 02:36 PM (#1439851)
Subject: RE: Rocks of Scilly
From: BB

This is a version of a song called 'The Wreck Off Scilly' which can be found in Baring-Gould's 'Songs of the West'.

Not sure what you were asking for here, though, nor did you say what the question was that was asked at the folk club.


21 Mar 05 - 04:11 PM (#1439915)
Subject: RE: Rocks of Scilly / Scilly Rocks
From: Joe Offer

There's a very limited amound of information at the Traditional Ballad Index - just the Digital Tradition reference, and one version from Creighton/Senior:

Rocks of Scilly, The [Laws K8]

DESCRIPTION: The singer leaves his new wife to go to sea. Lonely, he fears a disaster -- and meets one when a storm runs his ship onto the Rocks of Scilly. Another singer tells how only four sailors survive, not including the first singer. His wife dies of sorrow
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1950 (Creighton/Senior)

KEYWORDS: sailor storm wife death
FOUND IN: Canada(Mar) Britain(England(West))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Laws K8, "The Rocks of Scilly"
Creighton/Senior, pp. 200-201, "Rocks of Scilly" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #388
cf. "The Gentle Boy (Why Don't Father's Ship Come In)" (theme)
File: LK08

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.

Here's the entry from
ROCKS OF SCILLY, THE - "Come all you brisk young sailors bold" pressed to sea - thoughts of Polly - Plymouth Shipwreck 1802 - LAWS #K8 ABBB 1957 p144 - ROUD#388 - BARING GOULD SOW 1895 #52 "Wreck off Scilly" from James Parsons - BG-HITCHCOCK 1974 pp108-9 James Parsons,- JFSS 5:19 p171-3 Hammond: Joseph Elliott, Todber, Dorset 1905 "SR" - COLLINSON-DILLON FSCM 1952 pp14-19 Harry Cox, Catfield, Norfolk - PURSLOW CL 1972 p87 Gardiner: George Collier, Sheet, Hampsh 1908 "SR" - TOCHER 26 1977 p92 - PALMER RVW 1983 #45 pp72-3 Mr Morris, Almeley, Herefordsh 1912 --- McKENZIE BSSNS 1928 pp140-142 NS (w/o) - CREIGHTON NS 1950 p200 - CREIGHT FSSNB 1971 pp138-9 Angelo Dornan, Elgin, NB - see LOWLANDS OF HOLLAND
BARING GOULD SOW 1891-5 = Rev Sabine Baring Gould: Songs (& Ballads) of the West
MACKENZIE BSSNS 1928 = W Roy Mackenzie: Ballads & Sea Songs from Nova Scotia (Harvard)
HAMMOND FSD 1908 = H E D Hammond: Folk-Songs from Dorset (Novello)
COLLINSON-DILLON FSCM 1952 = Francis Collinson: Folk Songs from Country Magazine (Paxton)
PURSLOW CL 1972 = Frank Purslow: Constant Lovers(EFDS Publ)
PALMER RVW 1983= Folk Songs collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams (Dent)
CREIGHTON SBNS 1932/ MFS 1961/ FSNB 1971 = Helen Creighton: Songs & Ballads from Nova Scotia/ Maritime Folk Songs/ Folk-Songs from Southern New Brunswick (Dent/ Michigan State Univ Press/ Nat Museum of Canada)

21 Mar 05 - 04:20 PM (#1439924)
Subject: RE: Rocks of Scilly
From: Mr Red

The questioner asked for the tune, I told him to look here. Lets hope he does.

21 Mar 05 - 04:24 PM (#1439928)
Subject: ADD Version: Rocks of Scilly
From: Joe Offer

Rocks of Scilly

Come all you jolly sailor boys
That plough the raging main,
Come listen to my tragedy
While I relate the same.
O I left my newly wedded bride
So well I did adore,
To the seas we were commanded
Where the lofty billows roar.

O bound to the East Indies,
Our course we then did steer,
And all the while I do think on
My lovely Molly dear.
Sometimes on decks, sometimes aloft
And when I'm down below,
But Molly she runs in my mind
For love commands me so.

O when our cargo we received,
Then we were outward bound,
It's little I thought it was my fate
On the Rocks of Scilly drowned.
On the Rocks of Scilly we were cast
Where the foaming billows roar,
Out of twenty noble sailor boys
But four did reach the shore.

O we had not been sailing,
Many days only seven
When a dismal storm did arise.
The raging seas run mountains high,
And dismal was the sky.
"O aloft, aloft," our captain cried,
"Ye hardy sailors brave,
Come reef your topsails, fore and aft,
Our ship and lives to save."

Then up speaks our bold captain,
"The first man does see land,
Five hundred pounds he will receive
Right into his hand."
Our boatswain's mate went up aloft,
All in the foretop high,
He spied around on every side
But no land could he spy.

Then out speaks our bold captain,
"We're drawing near the land,
Our ship and cargo we must save
As you may understand."
And all at once ahead of us
A light it did appear,
"Cheer up my hearty hearts of oak,
Some harbour must be near."

With our good ship before the wind
Thinking all dangers past,
It was us poor souls that fatal night
On the Rocks of Scilly cast.
The very first blow our good ship struck
Our captain he did cry,
Saying, "The Lord have mercy on our souls
For in the deep we'll die."

On the Rocks of Scilly we were cast
Our gallant ship and crew,
On the Rocks of Scilly we were cast,
Most dismal for to view.
When Molly heard the dreadful news
Her tender heart did break,
Like a faithful and fond lover died
For her true lover's sake.

Sung by Mr. Jas. Young, East Petpeswick.

Source: Traditional Songs from Nova Scotia, Helen Creighton and Doreen H. Senior (1950)
You'll notice the tune is quite different from the ones in the DT and ABC Tunefinder.

Click to play

22 Mar 05 - 08:09 AM (#1440431)
Subject: RE: Rocks of Scilly
From: Mr Red

Ta - I will get a message to our seeker.

23 Mar 05 - 01:56 AM (#1441299)
Subject: RE: Rocks of Scilly
From: Malcolm Douglas

For broadside examples of the earlier 19th century, see  Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:

Rocks of Scilly

11 May 10 - 06:39 PM (#2904794)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE ROCKS OF SCILLY (from Bodleian)
From: Jim Dixon

From Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, Harding B 17(261a):

Printed by T. Birt, wholesale and retail,
10, Great St. Andrew-Street, Seven Dials, London.

1. Come all you brisk young sailors bold, that plough the raging main:
Come listen to my tragedy and I'll relate the same.
'Tis prest I was from my true love. She is the girl I do adore,
And sent I was to the raging sea, where foaming billows roar.

2. To the East Indies we were bound, our gallant ship to steer,
And all the way that we sail'd out, I thought of my Polly dear.
We had not gone a great way out before a storm did rise.
The raging seas ran mountains high and so dismal was the sky.

3. Sometimes alone with grief I moan while others are sporting on.
Had I but my Polly here, I ne'er would make my moan.
Sometimes on deck, sometimes aloft, and oftentimes below,
The thoughts of Polly run in my head tho' the stormy winds do blow.

4. Our captain, being a valiant man, upon the deck did stand.
"A full reward of fifty pounds to the first that doth see land."
Our boatswain up aloft did go on the maintop so high.
He look'd all round on every side, neither light nor land espy'd.

5. He being foremast of the ship, a light he chanced to spy.
"Bear off, my lads, before the wind. Some harbour we are nigh.
"Bear off, my lads, before the wind. The Scilly Rocks are near.
On the ocean wide we must abide till day-light doth appear."

6. The very first time our gallant ship struck, so loud the captain cried,
"The Lord have mercy on us all! We in the deep shall die."
Out of eighty seamen bold, 'twas four got on shore.
Our gallant ship to pieces went, and never was seen more.

7. O when this news to Plymouth went, our gallant ship was lost,
Caused many a fine young sailor bold then to lament his cause.
'Tis Polly, love, you must lament, for the loss of your sweetheart.
'Tis the raging seas, the stormy winds, caused you and me to part.

11 May 10 - 07:00 PM (#2904812)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE ROCKS OF SCILLY (from Bodleian)
From: Jim Dixon

From Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, Harding B 28(83):

Printed for W. Armstrong.

1. Come all you seamen stout and bold that plough the raging main;
Come listen to my tragedy whilst I relate the same.
I parted from my Polly dear, the girl I did adore,
And commanded I was to the ocean wide where lofty billows roar.

2. First to the West Indies we were bound, our gallant ship to steer,
And all the time that I sail'd on, I thought of Polly dear.
Sometimes aloft, sometimes on deck, sometimes I was below.
The thoughts of Polly ran in my mind, love did torment me so.

3. "Up aloft, up aloft," our captain cry'd, "and the very first that does spy land,
Well rewarded he shall be with fifty pounds in hand;
Up aloft, up aloft," the captain cry'd, "to the mainmast up so high."
We look'd all round on every side, neither light nor land could spy.

4. Being on the foremost of the ship, a light by chance to spy,
Cheer on, cheer on before the wind. Some harbor we are nigh.
Cheer on, cheer on before the wind, hoping all danger past;
But we poor souls that very night on the rocks of Scilly were cast.

5. The very first crack our ship did give, alone our captain cry'd:
"The Lord have mercy on our souls! We in the deep must lie."
But out of six hundred bold seamen, but four of us came on shore.
Our gallant ship in pieces split and was never seen any more.

6. When this sad news to Plymouth came, our gallant ship was lost,
Caus'd many a gallant seaman bold to lament for our cruel cause.
Poor Poll was left for to lament the loss of her sweetheart:
"'Twas the ranging seas and stormy wind caus'd my love and I to part."