The Outharbour Planter (Maurice A Devine)
(The Outport Planter)

"The times bain't what they used to be,
'bout fifty ye'rs or so ago,"
And he hooked a coal from the bar-room stove,
and set his T D pipe aglow.
"The b'ys be changed, the men be changed,
their place supplied by fraud and ranter,
But the deadest of all the burr'ed past
is the dead and gon' outharbour planter.

"He's gon' with gansey and corduroy pants;
with Hamburg boots and ne'er collar;
He's gon' wid cook-room, pork and duff;
gon' wid the good, old pillar dollar;
Gon' wid his chare at Christmas time;
gone wid his rum in the red decanter;
He's chareful v'ice and breezy song
are burr'ed 'low wid the outport planter.

"'tis true he was bluff and somewhat rude,
and hadn't a stock of college manners;
His gurls warn't trained in boardin' schools,
and didn't thump on grand pianers.
But they'd gut a fish, or make a shirt,
and at dawn rise at a call instanter;
They were truthful, honest, kind and good,
the simple gurls of the outport planter.

"His place supplied by a class o' dude
(I've seed the word in the Yankee papers),
With standin' collars and shinin' boots;
wid cheap segars and sickenin' capers,
Wid shop-made clothes and silvern rings,
and larnin' enough to fool and banter;
You'd drown 'em all with your nipper's spray
those pale face sons of the outport planter.

"Ye'r in, ye'r out, he done his work,
as best he knew in his position;
The winter seed him mend his nets,
the summer seed him go a-fishin'.
The priest and parson he always paid
(the regular men, but not the ranter)
For the latter class no favor found
with the orthodox outharbour planter.

"His house the village meetin' place,
tho' it not always was a mansion,
Its carpet was a sanded floor,
with sometimes sawdust on the planchin',
Here song and merry dance went round,
the tune supplied by cookroom chanter;
The reel, cotillion (not the waltz) was
the dance enjoyed by the outport planter.

"I knew one quite well he had his faults,
and made men work both night and marnin';
But, then, he didn't spare himself,
a more than three hours rest a scarnin'.
And he cussed and he swore
when the fish was scarce,
and drank too deep from the red decanter;
And bad molasses and rotten flour,
was sometimes sold by the outport planter.

"But when 'counts he squar'd at the final day,
and into the ledger the Lord is sarchin',
He'll say, 'I find you cussed a sight,
and once in a while you stuck the marchin';
But you clode the nak'd, the hungry fed;
so go up fust with the harps and chanters,
The place reserved for all good men,
and honest, square, outharbour planters.'"

####.... Maurice A Devine [1859-1915] of Kings Cove, Bonavista Bay, NL ....####

See more of the Devines songs.

Published in Gerald S Doyle's Old-Time Songs And Poetry Of Newfoundland: Songs Of The People From The Days Of Our Forefathers (1st Ed, p.9, 1927, and 2nd Ed, p.78, 1940).

Gerald S Doyle noted November, 1927:
The term "Planter" is seldom heard nowadays. Like the old time customs the poet sings of, the word itself has passed into oblivion. However, a great many readers still remember the good old fashioned type of business man referred to in these verses, and if they are not up with the harps and chanters, we are afraid modern men will have a poor chance. This is one of the late lamented M A Devine's compositions, all of which are written with excellent humour and local charm.

Also printed in St John's in 1923 on pp.6-7 of Songs Their Fathers Sung, For Fishermen: Old Time Ditties, published by James Murphy [1867-1931], who noted that these verses first appeared through the press some thirty-two years ago [c.1891], and were composed by the late M A devine, Esq.

From the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English:
Duff - pudding made of flour and water, sometimes with suet and raisins added, boiled in a cloth bag.
Gansey - also garnsey or guernsey; heavy, closely knit pull-over sweater worn by fishermen and sealers.
Outharbour - bay or harbour other than the chief port of St John's; the inhabited coastal strip or settlement of such an inlet of the sea; outport.
Planching - floor-boards.
Planter - fisherman and owner of fishing premises, boat or small vessel who, supplied by a merchant, engages a crew to work on the share system; skipper.
T D - brand name of a type of clay tobacco-pipe; scooter.

From Wikipedia: Bain't or bain't, apparently a contraction of be not, is found in a number of works employing eye dialect, including J Sheridan Le Fanu's Uncle Silas.


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