The Southern Cross (Greenleaf/Mansfield)
score, video

See also: Southern Cross (Pamela Morgan)

And also: Southern Cross (Lehr/Best)

And also: What Happened To The Southern Cross?
(Gary Callahan)

sheet music

#1258: YouTube video by oldirishladdie
℗2010 ~ Used with permission ~

She got up the steam the twelfth of March
and shortly did embark,
To try her fortune in the Gulf,
in charge of Captain Clark;
She carried a hundred and seventy men,
a strong and vigorous race,
Some from St John's and Brigus
and more from Harbour Grace.

She reached the Gulf in early March,
the white-coats for to slew,
When 17 thousand prime young harps
killed by her hardy crew;
All panned and safely stowed below,
with colours waving gay,
The Southern Cross she leaved the ice,
bound up for home that day.

She passed near Channel homeward bound,
as news came out next day,
To say a steamer from the Gulf
she now is on her way;
"No doubt it is the Southern Cross,"
the operator said,
"And looking to have a bumper trip,
and well down by the head."

The last of March the storm came on
with blinding snow and sleet,
The Portia, bound for western ports,
the Southern Cross did meet;
When Captain Connors from the bridge
he saw the ship that day,
And thinking she would shelter
up in St Mary's Bay.

St Mary's Bay she never reached,
as news came out next morn,
She must have been all night at sea,
out in that dreadful storm;
No word came from the Southern Cross
now twenty days or more,
To say she reached a harbour
around the western shore.

The SS Kyle was soon dispatched
to search the ocean round,
But no sign of the missing ship
could anywhere be found;
She searched Cape Race and every place
until she reached Cape Pine,
But of the ship or wrecking
the captain saw no sign.

The Southern Cross out twenty days,
she now is overdue,
We hope, please God, she'll soon arrive
and all her hearty crew;
But put your trust in Providence
and trust to Him on high,
To send the Southern Cross safe home
and fill sad hearts with joy.

All things do happen for the best,
but if they're called away,
The brave lads on the Southern Cross
out in the storm that day;
We trust they reach that heavenly land
with Him on high,
Where cares and sorrows are no more,
but all is peace and joy.

####.... Author unknown. Original Newfoundland ballad written out by hand in 1927 by the singer, Lizzie C Rose of Fox Harbour, Labrador ....####
This variant was published in Gerald S Doyle's Old-Time Songs And Poetry Of Newfoundland: Songs Of The People From The Days Of Our Forefathers (2nd Ed, p.57, 1940; 3rd Ed, pp.54-55, 1955, Gerald S Doyle Ltd, St John's, NL, reprinted from the singing of Philip Major [1908-1958] of Sally's Cove, NL, collected in 1929 and published as #139 on pp.281-282 in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1933; Folklore Associates, Hatboro, PA, 1968).

The original sheet music above was reproduced in Haulin' Rope & Gaff: Songs And Poetry In The History Of The Newfoundland Seal Fishery by Shannon Ryan and Larry Small, pp.99-100 (Breakwater Books Limited, St John's, NL, 1978).

The video above features a recording of this variant by Alan Mills (Folk Songs Of Newfoundland, 1958 LP, trk#5, Folkway Records and Service Corp, New York, NY)

See more Alan Mills songs.

A very similar variant was collected in 1960 from John T (Jack) Dalton [1911-1989] of Codroy, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 3, pp.973-974, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that this famous native sea ballad achieved wide circulation in Newfoundland through the Gerald S Doyle booklets, where it was reprinted from Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield. The original singer was Lizzie Rose of Fox Harbour, Labrador.

A variant was also sung by Edwin John (Eddy) Primroy [1928-1999] of Pouch Cove, NL, and published as Wreck Of The Southern Cross in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada, ℗2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was recorded by Omar Blondahl (The Saga Of Newfoundland In Song, 1955 LP, trk#5, Rodeo Record Company, St John's, NL); and (The Great Seal Hunt Of Newfoundland - Songs Of The Sealers, 1959 LP, trk#4, Banff-Rodeo, Halifax, NS, distributed by London Records of Canada, Montreal, QC)

See more Omar Blondahl songs.

From Wikipedia:
¹SS Southern Cross - was originally commissioned as the whaler Pollux at Arendal, Norway in 1886. Under the explorer Carstens Borchgrevink on December 19, 1898, Pollux made its first Antarctic expedition where it made marine history by breaking through the Great Ice barrier to the unexplored Ross Sea. Pollux was sold to Baine Johnston and renamed Southern Cross upon transferring to Newfoundland in 1901. Southern Cross participated in every seal hunt from 1901-1914.
²St Lewis, NL - small fishing community on the coast of Labrador in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. St Lewis, formerly known as Fox Harbour, is the most easterly permanent community on the North American mainland. The community of St Lewis enjoys a long and vibrant history as one of the earliest recorded places in all of Labrador by Europeans. Settled in the early eighteenth-century (by Europeans), the area's sheltered location, proximity to good fishing grounds and seal migration routes made the settlement a desired location for both the European-based migratory fishery, and the native Inuit families who inhabited the south Labrador coast.

¹The Southern Cross was lost in the spring of 1914, returning from the ice. 174 lives were lost with no trace ever found of the ship or crew. The crew of the Newfoundland was lost on the ice in the same storm, leaving about 252 dead in one month.
²Per the 1921 census files, Elizabeth (Lizzie) C Rose [1873-1935] was born on Fox Island, NL, but her death was registered in Fox Harbour, Labrador.
³The lyrics above were sent to Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf in 1928 by Miss Mary S Evans, Vassar College, and sung in 1929 by Philip Major [1908-1958] of Sally's Cove, NL. Miss Evans wrote a brief article about Fox Harbor in Vol 6, No 1, 1930, pp 56-58 of American Speech published by Duke University. In it she wrote: "Fox Harbor lies on the north side of Lewis Bay, which is the southernmost big indentation on the map of the Labrador Peninsula. During the summer about forty souls live there in some ten hut-like houses. By the end of June, two or three fishing schooners from Newfoundland may be anchored in the harbor and, if fishing is plentiful, may remain all summer." Miss Evans wrote further about her visit there in the summer of 1926: "Three persons were able to read and write easily and four others could read a little. Any word from Canada or Newfoundland must come by word of mouth

See more NL shipwreck songs.


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