The Emigrant From Newfoundland (J T Kinsella)

(The Emigrant's Farewell)
(The Newfoundland Exile)
sheet music

Dear Newfoundland, have I got to leave you
To seek employment in a foreign land?
Forced from our nation by cruel taxation,
I now must leave you, dear Newfoundland.

Your rocky mountains, your hills and meadows,
Where oft I played on a summer's day,
Where merry parties and happy picnics
Are passed from view with the boys that play.

Where oft in spring on a pleasant evening
To the Blockhouse go or the Battery stand;
Where crowds stood eager to watch the sailors
Come in the Narrows of Newfoundland.

And our grand regatta at Quidi Vidi
I long to see in my native place,
With the Hawk and Myrtle and the Lady Glover,
And the good old Native in the Tradesman's Race.

All decked with bunting no more I'll see you,
Although it's years since I took my stand
Near the greasy pole or the Wheel of Fortune,
Unregretted day in dear Newfoundland.

Dear Newfoundland, with your fisheries failing
Your sons and daughters must leave each fall,
Forced by poverty and cruel taxation
To the shores of Boston, a home for all.

Although with friends, I feel sad at parting,
My agèd parents on the pier will stand
To bid farewell to their sons and daughters,
Who now must leave you, dear Newfoundland.

So, keep your sons and your fairest daughters
Employed here at home on your shores so grand;
May the present generation adorn your nation
Is the prayer of an emigrant from Newfoundland.

####.... Reportedly written by J T Kinsella who left Newfoundland many years ago to settle in Boston ....####
A variant was printed on pp.22-23 of the Atlantic Guardian, Vol 13, No.09 (Sept-Oct 1956), Ewart Young, editor [1913-1968] published by Guardian Ltd, St John's, NL.

The above variant was collected in 1961 from Andrew Joseph Nash [1882-1964] of Branch, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports , Vol 2, pp.360-361, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A variant was collected in 1951 from Michael Murphy [1905-1999] of Trepassey, NL, and published as The Emigrant's Farewell in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada, ©2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

Kenneth Peacock noted that this song tells a story familiar to thousands of Newfoundlanders who were forced 'to seek employment in a foreign land', in this case Boston. Happily, the economic situation (in 1965) has improved steadily over the past few years, especially since Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949. More and more Newfoundlanders are staying at home to enjoy the improved educational facilities and working conditions in a friendly and easy-going environment that is impossible to duplicate elsewhere. Peacock also noted that the Blockhouse and the Battery (verse 3) on the way to Signal Hill are still standing as reminders of a more belligerent era. At the time of writing (1965) the whole Signal Hill area was being restored by the Federal Government as a national historic park. The annual regatta (verse 4) on Quidi Vidi Lake in suburban St John's is the oldest in Canada, dating back to the early 19th century. (See another Newfoundland song, Regatta.)

Printed without an author's name in St John's in 1904 as The Newfoundland Exile, a poem on pp.59-60 of the Old Colony Song Book, Newfoundland, published by James Murphy [1867-1931], who noted that this pathetic song is well-known to a great many exiled Newfoundlanders residing in the city of Boston and elsewhere.


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