Oh my name is Davy Lowston, I did seal, I did seal.
My name is Davy Lowston, I did seal.
Though my men and I were lost, though our very lives it cost
We did seal, we did seal, we did seal
We were set down in Open Bay, we were set down, were set down
We were set down in Open Bay, we were set down
We were left we gallant men, never more to sail again
For to seal, for to seal, for to seal.
Our Captain John Bedar he set sail, he set sail.
Our Captain John Bedar he set sail
"I'll return, men, without fail". But she foundered in a gale,
And went down, and went down, and went down.
We cured ten thousand skins for the fur, for the fur.
We cured ten thousand skins for the fur.
Brackish water, putrid seal, we did all of us fall ill,
For to die, for to die, for to die.
Come all you sailor lads who sail the sea, sail the sea,
Come all you jolly tars who sail the sea,
Though the schooner Governor Bligh took on some who did not die
Never seal, never seal, never seal.
New Zealand Folksongs: Song of a Young Country. Neil Colquhoun (1972)
Information taken from folksong.org.nz/davylows/
Ship's Mate David Loweriston and other sealers were left on an island in Open Bay (now Jackson Bay?) in Fiordland, New Zealand in 1810. They were there for nearly 4 years before being rescued by the Governor Bligh.
The tune and structure was obviously derived from the old Captain Kidd song series ("My Name is William Kidd," "My Name is Samuel Small," "Ye Jacobites By Name," "What Wondrous Love is This?" etc.)
The lyrics probably originated on the Sydney waterfront after Loweriston sued the owners of the 'Active' for abandoning his group.
The song was then taken to Kororareka in New Zealand, where Yankee whaling crews learnt it and carried the song back to Halifax, where it was eventually collected by John Leebrick.
For more information, see The story of David Lowston, a pre-colonial NZ song
(structural) Captain Kid's Farewell to the Seas
(structural) Digger's Song
(structural) Praties They Grow Small,The