Canada-I-O (The Wearing of the Blue; Caledonia)

DESCRIPTION: When her love goes to sea, a lady dresses as a sailor and joins (his or another's) ship's crew. When she is discovered, (the crew/her lover) determine to drown her. The captain saves her; they marry
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1839 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(1982))
KEYWORDS: love separation betrayal disguise cross-dressing sailor rescue reprieve marriage
FOUND IN: Canada(Newf) Ireland Britain(England(South),Scotland(Aber)) US(MA)
REFERENCES (11 citations):
Henry/Huntingdon/Herrmann-SamHenrysSongsOfThePeople H162, pp. 333-334, "Canada[,] Hi! Ho!" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #77, pp. 1-2, "Caledonia" (1 text)
Greig/Duncan2 227, "Pretty Caledonia" (11 texts [including 3 verses on p. 537], 8 tunes)
Ord-BothySongsAndBallads, pp. 117-118, "Caledonia" (1 text)
Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 437, "Canada-i-o" (1 text)
Leach-FolkBalladsSongsOfLowerLabradorCoast 90, "Canadee-I-O" (1 text, 1 tune)
Karpeles-FolkSongsFromNewfoundland 48, "Wearing of the Blue" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton-FolksongsFromSouthernNewBrunswick 109, "She Bargained with a Captain" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
Thompson-APioneerSongster 19, "Canada-I-O" (1 text)
Forget-Me-Not-Songster, pp. 114-115, "Canada I O" (1 text)

Roud #309 and 5543
Robert Cinnamond, "Canadie-I-O" (on IRRCinnamond03)
Bodleian, Harding B 11(1982), "Kennady I-o," J. Catnach (London), 1813-1838; also Firth c.12(329), Harding B 11(2039), "Lady's Trip to Kennedy"; Harding B 25(1045), "The Lady's Trip to Kennady"; Firth c.12(330), "Canada Heigho"; Firth c.13(240), Firth c.12(331), Harding B 11(2920), 2806 c.16(72), "Canada I, O"
Canada Heigho!!
Kennady I-o
Lady's Trip to Kennady
The Isles of Daniel
NOTES [319 words]: Based on similarity of title, some connect this song with "Canaday-I-O, Michigan-I-O, Colley's Run I-O" [Laws C17]. There is no connection in plot, however, and any common lyrics are probably the result of cross-fertilization. (Leach-FolkBalladsSongsOfLowerLabradorCoast has a report that "Canaday-I-O" was written in 1854 by Ephraim Braley using this song as a pattern.)
The Scottish song "Caledonia" is quite different in detail -- so much so that I'm tempted to separate it from the "Canada-I-O" texts (Roud, surprisingly, does split it; "Canaday-I-O" is his #309; "Caledonia" is #5543). But the plot is too close to allow us to distinguish.
There is a curious anachronism in most of the "Canada-I-O" texts, in that the girl concludes by saying something like "You see the honor that I have gained By the wearing of the blue." However, the British navy did not adopt a uniform for ordinary sailors until 1857 -- this being, of course, the familiar blue serge and white duck (see Arthur Herman, To Rule the Waves, p. 455). This being after the date of the earliest broadsides, it presumably is an intrusive element. - RBW
I don't believe anyone else has said that Creighton-FolksongsFromSouthernNewBrunswick fragment belongs here (it is Roud #2782). Here is all of Creighton-FolksongsFromSouthernNewBrunswick: "She bargained with a captain Her passage to go free, That she might be his comrade To cross the raging sea"
The usual arrangement in Canada-I-O is "She bargained with a sailor [or the sailors], All for a purse of gold." However, broadside Bodleian Firth c.12(330) has the following wording:
She was courted by a sailor
Twas true she loved him dear,
And how to get to sea with him
The way she did not know.
She bargained with a captain
All for a purse of gold
And soon they did convey the lady
Down into the hold.
The plot continues as usual, with the captain coming to her rescue. - BS
Last updated in version 6.0
File: HHH162

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