> A.L. Lloyd > Songs > 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.

Compare this to Judy Collins singing Farewell to Tarwathie accompanied by humpback whales in 1972 on her album Whales and Nightingales.

Lyrics

A.L. Lloyd sings Farewell to Tarwathie

Farewell to Tarwathie, adieu Mormond Hills,
And the dear land of Crimond, I bid ye farewell.
We're bound out for Greenland and ready to sail,
In hopes to find riches in hunting the whale.

Adieu to my comrades, for a while we must part,
And likewise the dear lass who first won my heart,
And the cold ice of Greenland my love will not chill,
And the longer the absence, more loving she'll feel.

Our ship is well-rigged and she's ready to sail.
Our 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.

Oh, the cold coast of Greenland is barren and bare,
No seedtime nor harvest is ever known there.
And the birds here sing sweetly on mountains and dale,
But there isn't a birdie 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.

Judy Collins sings Farewell to Tarwathie

Farewell to Tarwathie, adieu Mormond Hill
And the dear land of Crimond, I bid you farewell.
I'm bound out 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 fall 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 Crimond, I bid thee farewell.
We're bound out for Greenland and ready to sail
In hopes to find riches in hunting the whale.

Acknowledgements and Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Farewell to Tarwathie (Judy Collins Version).

The lyrics were taken from the Leviathan! sleeve notes.