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Farewell to Nova Scotia


Farewell to Nova Scotia

The tune is 'Good Night and Joy Be With Ye' which first appears in recorded history as early as 1625. The lyrics are a Canadian adaptation of the poem, 'The Soldier's Adieu', which dates from 1808 and was written by Scotland's Robert Tannahill. The Scottish version of the song is often titled ‘Good Night and Joy’.

The provided recording of ‘The Nova Scotia Song’ comes from a song on a scratched metal disc recorded in 1943 by Walter Roast of East Chezzetcook, Nova Scotia (it includes a false start).

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

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

I grieve to leave my native land,
grieve to leave my comrades all,
And my aged parents whom I always held so dear,
And the bonny, bonny 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.

Nova Scotia, one of Canada’s Eastern provinces, is surrounded almost entirely by water. Scottish settlers arriving in the early 17th century called the region ‘Nova Scotia’ (Latin for ‘New Scotland’) in response to the naming of an American territory to the south ‘New England’.

The song ‘Farewell to Nova Scotia’ or ‘The Nova Scotia Song’ is an adaptation of the Scottish song ‘Goodnight and Joy’ into a heroic ballad that applied to pretty much anyone shoving off on a leaky boat. Although the origin of this particular adaptation is unknown, its many versions have been recorded over the years, making the song one of the most popular traditional songs in the small maritime province.

The 'Nova Scotia Song’, recorded in 1943 by Walter Roast.