Farewell to Nova Scotia

Traditional

Audio

This example of "Farewell to Nova Scotia" is performed by 3 Pints Gone on their album There is a Ship, available from the Chivalry Music store.
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sheet music (toggle as desired for printing)

This song probably dates from the 1930s or 40s, but its authorship is unknown and it is considered to be traditional and in the public domain. It was collected by Canadian folklorist Helen Creighton.

1808 a Glasgow newspaper printed "The Soldier's Adieu", attributed to Robert Tannahill. It has several lines and phrases in it that suggest it was a source of inspiration for the song.

The sun was setting in the west
The birds were singing on ev'ry tree
All nature seemed inclined to rest
But still there was no rest for me

Farewell to Nova Scotia, the sea-bound coast
Let your mountains dark and dreary be  [drear-eye]
And when I am far away on the briny oceans tossed
Will you ever heave a sigh and a wish for me?

I grieve to leave my native land
I grieve to leave my comrades all
And my aged parents whom I always held so dear
And the bonnie, bonnie lass that I do adore

The drums they do beat and the wars do alarm
The captain calls, we must obey
So farewell, farewell to Nova Scotia's charms
For it's early in the morning I am far, far away

I have three brothers and they are at rest
Their arms are folded on their breast
But a poor simple sailor just like me
Must be tossed and driven on the dark blue sea