Fareweel tae Tarwathie

Maritime-themed song; Fo’c’sle Song; Forebitter

George Scroggie (1826-18??)

Farewell to Tarwathie, adieu Mormond Hill
And the dear land o’ Crimond, I’ll bid you fareweel
I’m bound out for Greenland and ready to sail
In hopes to find riches in hunting the whale.

Adieu to my comrades, for awhile we must part
And likewise the dear lass that fair won my heart
The cold ice 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
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 are covered with show.

The cold coast of Greenland is barren and bare
No seed time nor harvest is ever known there
And the birds here sing sweetly on mountain and dale
But there isn’t a birdie to sing tae 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 will be no temptation to tarry long there
With our ship bumper full, we will homeward repair.


image of album cover for Bounding Main Lost at Sea - click for more info about the album

Song Notes

David H. B. Drake introduced me to this sweet sounding melody at one of his monthly Sea Shanty Sing-Outs at Pier Wisconsin in Milwaukee. (The gatherings were in the old terminal building back before it was torn down to build Discovery World, today the home of the S/V Denis Sullivan). — Dean Calin

This song is by George Scroggie who lived in Aberdeenshire in the middle of the 19th century. At that time men would sign on to the whaling ships to earn money when times were hard on the land. —

For a detailed performance history of this song please visit Mainly Norfolk:  English Folk and Other Good Music.

Bounding Main’s rendition of this song, heard on their CD, Going Overboard, is entirely based on George Scroggie’s tune, but was arranged within an inch of its life by our music director, Jon Krivitzky.  While Fareweel tae Tarwathie was never a sea shanty (a maritime work song), it’s tune is very traditional, based on an older piece called Green Bushes (c. 1740).  This version is meant to be listened to, not necessarily to be sung along with.

We lovingly dedicate this song to the memory of our good friend Dave Zielinski. Fair winds and following seas, friend.