A Noble Fleet Of Sealers (Gerald S Doyle)

There's a noble fleet of sealers
being fitted for the ice,
They'll take a chance again this year
tho' fat's gone down in price;
And the owners will supply them
as in the days of old,
For in Newfoundland the sealing voyage
means something more than gold.

For the ice is drifting south'ard,
it's getting near the funks,
And men will leave their feather beds
to sleep in wooden bunks;
Tho' times are getting hard again
our men have not gone soft,
They'll haul their tows o'er icy floes
or briskly go aloft.

The Algerine is first to sail,
she's steaming out the harbour,
With eager sealers on her deck,
and on the bridge - Wilf Barbour;
The Viking blood runs in his veins
as in the days of yore,
When the Barbours fought the seal and whale,
and fished the Labrador.

The Terra Nova's next to sail,
in charge of Charley Kean,
In the history of our fisheries
that's a grand and worthy name;
His crew of bully northern men
can handle gaff or gun,
To get their share, they'll risk and dare,
and think it all great fun.

The Arctic Sealer's late to sail,
her crew worked with a will,
Led by that modern jowler,
the sealer's friend - Sid Hill;
Tho' the last to leave the harbour
he was first to strike the patches,
And on march the twenty-ninth,
bore in log-loaded to the hatches.

There's one sailed from Catalina,
her owner is commander,
She's the staunch and sturdy, local built,
the good ship Newfoundlander;
When the white coats bawl he'll risk his all,
despite hard luck before,
For there's ne'er a man in Newfoundland
the likes of John Blackmore.

And now they're back in old St John's
a-sharing out the flippers,
Let's wish good luck to sealers all,
likewise their gallant skippers;
Tho' Newfoundland is changing fast
some things we must not lose,
May we always have our flipper pie
and codfish for our brewis.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland song ....####
Published in Gerald S Doyle's Old-Time Songs And Poetry Of Newfoundland: Songs Of The People From The Days Of Our Forefathers, 1955, 3rd Ed, pp.10-11.

Also published on pp.26-27 of Songs Of Newfoundland, a complimentary booklet of lyrics to twenty-one songs distributed by the Bennett Brewing Co Ltd, of St John's, NL, with the cooperation of the Gerald S Doyle Song Book from which these lyrics were obtained.

From the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English:
Brewis - sea-biscuit or 'hard tack' soaked in water and then boiled; such a dish cooked with salt cod and fat pork.
Fat - layer of fatty tissue cut from the skin of seals for rendering into oil; blubber.
Flipper - fore-limb of a seal, especially as prepared for eating.
Flipper Pie - meat of seal flippers baked in a pie.
Funk - sea-bird nesting colony; foul smelling; funk-bird.
Jowler - skilled, energetic fisherman or sealer, especially the habitually successful master of a fishing boat or sealing vessel.
Patch - concentration of harp or hood seals on the ice floes, usually for the purpose of breeding, whelping or moulting.
White Coat - young harp seal with white fur soon shed.


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