The Woman By the Bay
By Elspeth Gunn of Strathmore

Young woman by her window
Watched the seals one day
In merry sport they swam about
Happy in their play.
She watched them leap and tumble
In freedom bright and gay,
And they saw the bright eyed lady
The woman by the bay

She listened to their voices
Pure and sweet as milk
She gazed upon their shining fur
Smooth and soft as silk
And ‘twas her lonely vigil
That caused the fold to say
“’Tis well indeed we’ve named her
The Woman by the Bay.”

She had a favorite singer
Among those in the sea
A milk-white lady in among the brown
And fair was she
But on that fateful morning
She heard her white one say
“I’ll take the laddie lover of
The Woman by they Bay”

“For twenty-one long year ago
One I remember well
Had stole from me my true sea-love
With her false land-woman’s spell
So I’ll woo young will and lure him
And drown him for my way
Of revenge upon her daughter,
The Woman by the Bay”

She listened there in horror
As she heard the white one’s tale
Her hand was pressed against her cheek
Which under it grew pale
For her mother died twelve year ago
But she’d heard the people say
‘Twas a silkie was the father of
The Woman by the Bay

Then from her chair she rose in haste
To warn him of his fate
Yet as she reached his empty house
She feared it was too late
For she saw him walking slowly
To where the white one lay
Singing, “Join me, Will, Beloved of
The Woman by the Bay”

She stood there for a moment,
And knew what she must do
Ran to the house, returned, in hand
A knife, sharp steel and true
And followed to the hidden cove
Wherein the white one lay
To save her love, this brave lady
The Woman by the Bay

And there she saw her love entranced
Stepping toward the sea
The white seal there, awaiting him
The devil’s own was she
When watched him come—his death was nigh
She’d waited for this day
When on her came, her knife in hand
The Woman by the Bay

She leapt into the water
Her knife wielded on high
The white seal met her, ready
She’d live to see Will die
They struggled fierce upon the shore
(slowly) and when ‘twas o’er there lay
The white seal dead, and near, her foe
The Woman by the Bay

(Slow) ‘Twas then the lad, young Will awoke
And op’ed his eyes to see
The white seal dead upon the sand
And near, his own lady
He ran to her, and held her close,
And heard her last breath say
“Remember Will, who loved thee well
The Woman by the Bay

They buried her beside the sea
The blue she loved so well
But the seal they burned, the smoke it reeked
Of the acid fumes of hell.
Young Will, he died soon after
The old ones all did say
That he’d gone to join his lady
The Woman by the Bay

And even in these modern times
They gaze at sunsets red
And say the white seal dyed them with
Her blood when she lay dead
But they see the golden sunrise
And then be heard to say
“That’s the joy of William with his love
The Woman by the Bay”