Prison Of Newfoundland (Johnny Doyle)
score, MIDI

See also: The Prisoner Of Newfoundland
(MacEdward Leach)

sheet music


Ye lads and lassies of Newfoundland
come listen to my sad tale,
While I relate the hardship
attending St John's jail;
And being a stranger in this land
I'll do the best I can,
To relate the hardship I endured
in the prison of Newfoundland.

On the twenty-fourth of October
to this country I first came,
On a British brig from Baltimore,
the Paragram by name;
And being consigned to Harvey's Wharf
a cargo for to land,
Which bitterly caused me to regret
on my voyage to Newfoundland.

The day of my trial, it would
grieve your heart full sore,
To see how Danial Hickerdy
so falsely on me swore;
Judge Carter passed my sentence,
those words to me did say,
"Six months on hard bread and water
in the penitentiary."

When my sentence it was passed,
they marched me off to jail,
Down in the penitentiary
the winter for to stay;
Where I found comrades plenty
as you may understand,
Which bitterly caused me to regret
my voyage to Newfoundland.

The prison was situated by
the side of a lovely pond,
Often as I sat and sang like
a mocking-bird alone;
Watching the lads and lassies,
how they used to sport and play,
Through the iron bars of my window
in the penitentiary.

One night as I lay fast asleep
all in my prison cell,
I dreamed I was in old Ireland,
the land I used to dwell;
Those pleasant dreams disturbed my rest
as you may understand,
I woke quite broken-hearted
in the prison of Newfoundland.

Now my song is to a close
as you may understand,
Johnny Doyle it is my name,
Old Ireland is my land;
I served my time on the Black Ball Line
since ever I went to sea,
And now at last I am caught fast
in the penitentiary.

####.... Johnny Doyle (per the lyrics of this variant) ....####
Published in Gerald S Doyle's Old-Time Songs And Poetry Of Newfoundland: Songs Of The People From The Days Of Our Forefathers (3rd Ed, pp.48-49, 1955).

A variant was recorded by Omar Blondahl (The Roving Newfoundlander, 1959 LP, trk#7, Banff-Rodeo, Halifax, NS). Also published on pp.46-47 of Newfoundlanders, Sing!: A Collection Of Favorite Newfoundland Folk Songs compiled by Omar Blondahl and published for Robin Hood Flour Mills (E J Bonnell Associates, St John's, NL, 1964)

See more Omar Blondahl songs.

A variant was also collected in 1983 from Pius Power, Jr [1944-1996] of South East Bight, NL, by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best and published as #90 in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.158-159, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press, ©1985/2003). Johnny O'Doyle is the author in those lyrics.

See more Lehr and Best songs.

A variant was collected in 1950 from Monica Rossiter [1913-2004] of Cape Broyle, NL, and published as The Prisoner Of Newfoundland in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada, ©2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

In 1950, MacEdward Leach also collected a five-verse variant with guitar accompaniment from Edwin John (Eddy) Primroy [1928-1999] of Pouch Cove, NL, which was also published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada, ©2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA)


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