The Sealer's Song (Gerald S Doyle) video
#1257: YouTube video by oldirishladdie
℗2010 ~ Used with permission ~

The blockhouse flag is up today
to welcome home the stranger,
And Stewart's house is looking out
for Barbour in the Ranger;
But Job's are wishing Blandford first
who never missed the patches,
He struck them on the twenty-third
and filled her to the hatches.

And Bowring too will bet a few
on Jackman in the Howler,
The little Kite she bore in sight
with Billy Knee the Jowler;
The first of the fleet is off Torbay,
all with their colours flying,
The girls are busy starching shirts
and pans of beefsteaks frying.

We left you see with Billy Knee,
bound home with colours flying,
And were forced to stay at Trinity Bay,
two weeks or more there lying;
Though short of grog, still lots of prog
to bring us home quite hearty,
Each Trinity Dove fell wild in love
with Walsh and Luke McCarthy.

Oh, in the spring the flippers bring
to lawyers, clerks or beagle,
We fought brave Neptune up and down
and carried home the Eagle;
Though some may sing of lords or kings,
brave heroes in each battle,
Our boys for fat, would gaff and bat,
and make the whitecoats rattle.

They kill their foe at every blow
(was Waterloo much grander?)
To face, who could, an old dog hood,
like a plucky Newfoundlander;
We danced on shore in Bremner's store,
the Darling girls were dancers,
Jemina Snooks our boys would hook
at every set of lancers.

I felt afraid of the fuss they made
of each confounded villain,
I thought the floor would leave the store
at the Trinity Bay Cotillion;
Don't talk to me of balls or sprees,
you never saw such a party,
That time on shore at Bremner's store,
made all feel good and hearty.

For at a dance no girls can prance,
nor dress in style more grander,
For an Irish reel that takes the heel
to please a Newfoundlander;
So here's success to Susie Bess
and girls from all outharbours,
For a kiss set in on a sealer's chin
which never saw the barber.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland song ....####
Published in Gerald S Doyle's Old-Time Songs Of Newfoundland: Songs Of The People From The Days Of Our Forefathers, 3rd Ed, pp.52-53, 1955.

Also published on pp.9-11 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.

The video above features a recording by John White (Come All Ye Home To Newfoundland, 1966 LP, trk#14; RCA Victor, specially commissioned by the millers of Five Roses Flour for the celebration of Come Home Year).

See more John White songs.

A variant was arranged and recorded by Omar Blondahl (A Visit To Newfoundland With Omar Blondahl, 1958 LP, trk#5, Rodeo International, Mount Albert, ON); and (The Great Seal Hunt Of Newfoundland - Songs Of The Sealers, 1959 LP, trk#5, Banff-Rodeo, Halifax, NS, distributed by London Records of Canada, Montreal, QC).

See more Omar Blondahl songs.

Also recorded by Alan Mills (Folk Songs Of Newfoundland, 1958, trk#16, Folkway Records and Service Corp, New York, NY).

See more Alan Mills songs.

From the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English:
Bat - to kill or stun a seal by striking with a club; to gaff.
Dog Hood - very dangerous, breeding-age, male hood seal.
Flipper - fore-limb of a seal, used to propel the animal in the water or on the ice; especially as prepared for eating.
Gaff - to kill or stun a seal with a blow from the sealer's iron-shod club or gaff; to bat.
Outharbour - bays or harbours other than the chief port of St John's; the inhabited coastal strip or settlement of such an inlet of the sea; outport.
Patches - concentrations of harp or hood seals on the ice-floes, usually for purposes of breeding, whelping or moulting.
Prog - food for a meal or lunch; victuals, grub or winter supplies.
Whitecoats - young harp seals with white fur, soon shed, hunted for their blubber.


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