(This score available as
a MIDI file)
Pennywhistle notation and Dulcimer tab for this song is also available
The Banks of Champlain It was Autumn and round me the leaves were descending And nought but the drumming bird tapped on the tree While thousands their freedom and rights were defending, The din of their arms sounded dismal to me. For Sandy, my love, was engaged in the action, Without him I value this world not a fraction, His death would have ended my life in distraction As mournful I strayed on the banks of Champlain. Then turning to rest from the cannons loud thunder, My elbow I leaned on a rock near the shore. The sound nearly parted my heart strings asunder, I thought I should see my dear Sandy no more. But soon an express all my sorrows suspended, My thanks to the Father of mercies ascended, My Sandy was safe and my country defended, By freedom's brave sons on the banks of Champlain. Oh the cannon roar ceased but the drums were still beating, As far to the northward our foes were retreating. My friends and my neighbors each other were greeting, Victorious on the banks of Champlain. New York, the Green Mountains, Macomb and MacDonough, The farmer, the soldier, the sailor, the gunner, United each party has pledged their honor, To conquer or die on the banks of Champlain. "On September 11, 1814, Commodore Thomas Macdonough won a decisive victory over a British fleet on Lake Champlain near Plattsburgh. One tradition attributes this song to the wife of the American land commander, General Alexander (Sandy) Macomb." So writes Arthur Schrader in "The Meandering Banks of the Dee." He discusses oral and manuscript versions of the ballad, as well as broadsides such as those in the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts. Carolyn Rabson sent me this version from the Marjorie Porter Collection of North Country Folklore. I have added a word or two over the years. MmcA note: anothe MMcA oct00
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!