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When I First Came to This Land

[ Roud 16813 ; Ballad Index PSAFB013 ; trad.]

When I First Came to This Land is an immigration song that Oscar Brand translated in 1957 from a Pennsylvania Dutch song. The Melrose Quartet sang it live at the Cheltenham Folk Festival in February 2011, and this recording was included in November 2011 on their EP Live at Cheltenham.

Lyrics

The Melrose Quartet sing When I First Came to This Land

When I first came to this land, I was not a wealthy man,
So I got myself a shack and I did what I could.
And I called my shack: “Break my back”,
For the land was sweet and good and I did what I could.

When I first came to this land, I was not a wealthy man,
So I got myself a cow and I did what I could.
And I called my cow: “No milk now”,
And I called my shack: “Break my back”,
For the land was sweet and good and I did what I could.

When I first came to this land, I was not a wealthy man,
So I got myself a hen and I did what I could.
And I called my hen: “Now and then”,
And I called my cow: “No milk now”,
And I called my shack: “Break my back”,
For the land was sweet and good and I did what I could.

When I first came to this land, I was not a wealthy man,
So I got myself a duck and I did what I could.
And I called my duck: “Out of luck”,
And I called my hen: “Now and then”,
And I called my cow: “No milk now”,
And I called my shack: “Break my back”,
For the land was sweet and good and I did what I could.

When I first came to this land, I was not a wealthy man,
So I got myself a wife and I did what I could.
And I called my wife: “Run for your life”,
And I called my duck: “Out of luck”,
And I called my hen: “Now and then”,
And I called my cow: “No milk now”,
And I called my shack: “Break my back”,
For the land was sweet and good and I did what I could.

When I first came to this land, I was not a wealthy man,
So I got myself a son and I did what I could.
And I called my son: “My work's done”,
And I called my wife: “Run for your life”,
And I called my duck: “Out of luck”,
And I called my hen: “Now and then”,
And I called my cow: “No milk now”,
And I called my shack: “Break my back”,
For the land was sweet and good and I did what I could.