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The Emigrant's Lament

Mon, 15 Apr 2013


Keith Teare sent the following in to the office:

As promised I’m sending you the files relating to the song my father heard from my grandfather and which I eventually set down. Our ‘Encore Choir’ Concert, of which Elaine Christian is the conductor, is planning to give the song its first hearing with Geoff Collier as soloist.

I’ve written a background explaining the origins of the song and how it grew from one verse and chorus to now having five verses. A scan of the original faded paper that drove Mary Ward Utterback to try to learn more about the song is among the attachments. (picture right). Pam Duchars has arranged it for the choir.

Verse 1 and the Chorus came from Willie Teare recalling life in the Colorado coal mines in the 1890s. Lines for Verses 2, 3 & 4 were discovered on a faded brown paper among Mary Ward Utterback’s old family letters. Verse 5 used the words Mary Ward Utterback wrote herself to celebrate her reunion with her cousins.

1. My Mother she stood on the Liverpool dock, with her handkerchief over her eyes.

And when the ship sailed out of the dock, it was then she began to cry.

You are going to a land far away my dear boy, and leaving your mother behind you.

And when you return to the land of your birth, there’ll be no one to welcome you home.

Chorus:

There’ll be no one to welcome you home, my dear boy. There’ll be no one to welcome you home. And when you return to the land of your birth, There’ll be no one to welcome you home.

2. There’s a dear little cot, and it stands on the hill, in my homeland far over the sea.

This dear little cot; it stands all alone, and it sheltered my mother and me.

But now just a stranger, I live far away; far away from those friends and my home;

And if I return to the land of my birth, there’ll be no one to welcome me home

 

3. In thought I have often wandered alone, alone near that house of my birth.

How little I cared on the day I set sail and left all my friends there at home,

And now I’m alone, I recall what she said; there’ll be no one to welcome you home.

And when you return to the land of your birth, there’ll be no one to welcome you home.

4. The years hurried by and the emigrants died, so few would return to their Isle;

But they talked and they sang of their home o’er the sea with many a tear and a smile.

Their children remembered these stories of home, in lands all over the earth;

But should they return to the land of their birth, they may find themselves standing alone,

5. More decades roll by; new children try to establish their links with the past;

Letters and tales, records and mails – Yes, mem’ries were blending at last;

As family joined family, new cousins, too; no longer strangers afar,

I found myself back in that land of their birth ‘There was Someone to Welcome me Home’!

UPDATE: WATCH a film with Keith Teare performing the song