Lady Franklin's Lament

from A Woman's Way by Crosscurrents Music

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Lady Jane Franklin: England & Australia, 1791-1875

Jane Franklin was born in London to a silk merchant and a Frenchwoman, and moved to Australia with husband John Franklin in 1836. During Franklin's 1830s term as lieutenant-governor of Van Diemen's Land, she founded the first Royal Society for the Advancement of Science outside Britain and a state college for higher education. When Sir John Franklin's Arctic expedition was lost in 1845, Lady Franklin organized multiple search expeditions between 1848 and 1857 which showed that her husband had indeed discovered a North-West Passage.

In Stan Rogers' famous anthem Northwest Passage, I have always heard the voice of Lady Franklin, yearning to "find the hand of Franklin reaching from the Beaufort Sea." Such women's voices bring a harmonic octave to our history as well as our music as we greet the millennium.


We were homeward bound one night on the deep
Swinging in my hammock I fell asleep
I dreamed a dream and I thought it true
Concerning Franklin and his gallant crew.

With a hundred seamen he sailed away
To the frozen ocean in the month of May
To seek a passage around the pole
Where we poor seamen do sometimes roll

Through cruel hardships they vainly strove
Their ship on mountains of ice was drove
Only the Eskimo in his skin canoe
Was the only one that ever came through

And now my burden it gives me pain
For my long lost Franklin I would cross the main
Ten thousand pounds I would freely give
To know that on earth my Franklin do live.


from A Woman's Way, released May 18, 2018
rad. English Roud 487.


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Crosscurrents Music Boston, Massachusetts

Lynn Noel brings traditional song and heritage arts online to create digital community. Lynn has a voice of striking clarity and power, equally at home in rhythmic chanteys and flowing ballads.

Lynn is a respected song session leader on both sides of the Atlantic and the producer and host of the Mermaid's Tavern online folk club. She has earned awards from the IUCN, NRCA, and CDSS.
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