Doerflinger says this fast forebitter was "doubtlessly composed ashore in England". He took the song down from the singing of Frank Vickery, mate of the Canadian lumber schooner Avon Queen, of the Miramichi, in 1932.
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Memory carries my fancy Back to the days that are long past gone; There stands a sailor dressed in garments of blue, Biding a lone, weeping widow adieu Vows of the future he laughingly makes, While from her finger a keeper she takes, And with words so tender, broken with tears These were the words whispered into my ears
(Quicker) "'Tis but a little golden ring she gave to me with pride; Wear it for your mother's sake when you're on the tide. If you are in trouble, comfort it will bring To think of me while gazing on that little golden ring."
Now it's "God bless us," 'twixt Mother and me. Good-by forever, perhaps it may be. Then he turned and manfully strode, Till hidden from view by a turn in the road. When on the vessel the anchor is weighed, Then for some strange destination they made, But bright as a beacon my keeper doth gleam, And the voice of my mother doth say in my dream:
Time brought promotion and honor to me. Duty was done as duty should be. Every mail brought me a letter from home, Oft-times were opened in grief, I must own. Slowly but surely those letters decreased, Then all of a sudden they silently ceased. But bright as a beacon my keeper doth gleam, And the voice of my mother doth say in my dream:
Now then, old England's white cliffs are at hand; Once more I see my own native land. Strangers were there for to answer my call, For Mother was sleeping her last sleep of all. Gold or silver or jewels divine Could not tempt me to part with that keeper of mine, For bright as a beacon that keeper doth gleam, And the voice of my mother doth say in my dream: