FolkWorld #60 07/2016
© Seán Laffey

The Donside Emigrant's Farewell

The related article has been withdrawn by the author.

»Farewell to Tarwathie was written in the 1850's by George Scrogie, a miller from the Scottish townland of Fedderate, New Deer, Aberdeenshire ... George constructed his song on an earlier model, The Donside Emigrant's Farewell, which has come down to us as Farewell To The Company in the singing tradition of Northern Ireland.« (S.L.)

The Donside Emigrant's Farewell

Come all my old comrades, once more let us join
And raise your sweet voices in chorus with mine
Let us drink and be merry, from sorrow refrain,
For we may and may never meet all here again

The time's fast approaching that I must away
I bid you adieu for many's the long day
With you, my dear comrades, so happy we've been here
But away to Virginia my course I must steer

May Heaven protect us with a prosperous gale
And be our safeguard while we are under sail
Lead us safe to the harbor across the proud wave
We will trust to His mercy Who can sink or can save

Ye hills and low valleys of Donside, farewell
For if ever I return there is none here can tell
Farewell to your lasses of every degree
Long in vain will I wish for your sweet company

Farewell to the jewel, to you I love best
For you and your beauty excels all the rest
But if you prove constant as constant can be
Wherever I go, love, my heart is with thee

Many hearts will be happy, but mine will be sad
When I think on the joys that me and my love had
When I mind on the time that you sat on my knee
There was none in this world more happy than we

Farewell to my joys, they are gone for a while
Cold winter's away and the sweet summer smiles
I have heard an old proverb, found it to he true
That true love is better than gold from Peru.

Come all my dear comrades, let's drink up our glass
Each lad drink a health to his darling sweet lass
Drink a health to each lover whose sweetheart is true
Here's a health, peace, and plenty; so farewell and adieu!

Artist Video Runa @ FolkWorld:
FW#41, #41, #42, #45,
#51, #55, #56, #61, #61

Farewell to Tarwathie

Farewell to Tarwathie
Adieu Mormond Hill
And the dear land of Crimmond
I bid you farewell
I'm bound off for Greenland
And ready to sail
In hopes to find riches
In hunting the whale

Farewell to my comrades
For a while we must part
And likewise the dear lass
Who first won my heart
The cold coast of Greenland
My love will not chill
And the longer my absence
More loving she'll feel

Our ship is well rigged
And she's ready to sail
The crew they are anxious
To follow the whale
Where the icebergs do float
And the stormy winds blow
Where the land and the ocean
Is covered with snow

The cold coast of Greenland
Is barren and bare
No seed time nor harvest
Is ever known there
And the birds here sing sweetly
In mountain and dale
But there's no bird in Greenland
To sing to the whale

There is no habitation
For a man to live there
And the king of that country
Is the fierce Greenland bear
And there'll be no temptation
To tarry long there
With our ship bumper full
We will homeward repair

Farewell to Tarwathie
Adieu Mormond Hill
And the dear land of Crimmond
I bid you farewell
We're bound off for Greenland
And ready to sail
In hopes to find riches
In hunting the whale

 Listen to Farewell to Tarwathie from:
     An Rinn, Runa, Runa live

 Watch Farewell to Tarwathie from:   
  Judy Collins, The Corries, Kevin McKidd, 
  Linde Nijland, Mick O'Grady


Runa is a Celtic music group. They combine the traditional music of Ireland and Scotland with modern music such as folk and jazz. The band members are based in Philadelphia, Nashville, and Chicago - they come from Ireland, USA and Canada. Their influences include Mary Black, The Chieftains, U2, Solas, Karen Casey, Loreena McKennitt, Wolfstone, Nickel Creek, Sarah McLaughlin, Enya, Moya Brennan, Kate Rusby, Dervish, Gerry O'Beirne, Clannad, Natalie MacMaster, and Amos Lee.


RUNA: Live



Farewell to Tarwathie

Farewell to Tarwathie

[Roud 2562; G/D 1:15; Ballad Index DTtarwat; George Scroggie]

This song about the ca. 1850 West Greenland right whale fishing was recorded around 1956 by Ewan MacColl for his and A.L. Lloyd's Riverside album Thar She Blows! (reissued in the 1960s on the Washington label as Whaling Ballads). A.L. Lloyd sang Farewell to Tarwathie in 1967 on his Topic album Leviathan! Ballads & Songs of the Whaling Trade. Here he was accompanied by Alf Edwards on English concertina. This track was reissued on the Fellside compilation CD Classic A.L. Lloyd.

A.L. Lloyd commented in the Leviathan! sleeve notes:

The stereotype of the oldtime whalemen is a hairychested ring-tailed roarer, hard worker, hard drinker, hard fighter. No doubt the description fitted many of them; nevertheless they often showed a strong liking for gentle meditative songs. Perhaps alone among all the songs on this record, Farewell to Tarwathie was made not by a whaleman, but by a miller, George Scroggie of Federate, near Aberdeen, around the middle of the 19th century. The tune is an old favourite, best known in connection with the song called Green Bushes.

Gordon McIntyre sang Farewell to Tarwathie in 1966 on Martyn Wyndham-Read, Danny Spooner and his Australian album A Wench, a Whale and a Pint of Good Ale. The album's sleeve notes commented:

Written about the middle of the last century by a Scot, George Scroggie, this song, gentle and reflective but tinged with bitterness, is one of the most beautiful of all sea songs.

Union Folk sang Farewell to Tarwathie in 1969 on their Traditional Sound album A Basketful of Oysters.

Judy Collins sang Farewell to Tarwathie, accompanied by humpback whales, on her 1970 album Whales and Nightingales. This track was also included in 1972 on her anthology Colors of the Day.

Ewan MacColl sang Farewell to Tarwathie in 1971 on The Critic Group's album As We Were A-Sailing.

Timoneers sang Farewell to Tarwathie on the Brum Folk 76 Souvenir Album.

White Hart sang Farewell to Tarwathie in 1969 on their Traditional Sound album In Search of Reward.

Danny Spooner sang Farewell tae Tarwathie on his 2002 CD Launch Out on the Deep. He noted:

Whaling at any time was a hard caper but in the days of sail it was a particularly rough and tough trade which required a tough breed of men. Yet a song like Farewell to Tarwathie reminds us that even the toughest of men might be touched by gentleness especially when separated from loved ones.

Brian MacNeill sang Farewell to Tarwathie at a Feast of Fiddles concert at Huntingdon Hall, Worcester, March 31, 2006. This was included in the following year on their CD Still Live.


The Donside Emigrant's Farewell

Photo Credits: (1) 'Farewell to Tarwathie', (2) 'The Donside Emigrant's Farewell', (3) Runa (unknown/website).

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