Tidal Wave At Burin (MacEdward Leach)
See also: 1929 Tidal Wave (F Herridge/M Wall)
And also: The Tidal Wave (Rosalee Peppard)

On the eighteenth of November,
as you might all remember,
When everybody thought the world
was coming to an end,
The earth began to tremble,
like a leaf all growing nimble;
For our lives we had to scramble,
and you know what happened then.

The day began with sunshine
from early in the morning,
The wind was light and pleasant,
the sky was bright and clear;
You could hear the people talking
whilst along their roads a-walking,
Not thinking that disaster
was drawing very near.

Everything went right
until late that fatal evening,
The time I do remember
between four and five o'clock,
When the people made a wonder
what's that rumbling noise like thunder,
Which seemed on top and underneath,
which gave them such a shock.

The water it proceeded
far out and unexceeded,
More than any tidal wave
we ever had before;
Some people in their fancy,
some they almost went a-frantic,
Trying to get safe
from that awful noise and roar.

The waves came in with power,
going forty miles an hour,
Taking everything before it
as it rushed along the shore;
There were skiffs, punts and dories,
likewise stages and shores,
And dwellings swept to glory
that will not be seen no more.

It crept the highest fountain,
it drove people to the mountain,
Where women with their children,
also elderly men and boys;
Their lot was in
at the water's great confusion,
Saying, let us go still farther,
we don't know how far 'twill rise.

Not a breeze did stir the ocean,
the clouds had little motion,
The moon looked pale and sodden
as she rose above the hill;
Some people say she shifted
and out of her course has drifted,
While others seem to say
that she is standing still.

No doubt her beams reflected
seem sad and unexpected,
Where men and little children
they were bathing in the waves;
There were mothers, sons and daughters
that got smothered in the waters,
And sixteen precious loved ones
have met a watery grave.

A word of appreciaton
for the people of each nation,
Who sympathised with charity,
God rest them one and all;
Their names should be recorded
and no doubt they'll be rewarded,
When they go before their maker
in the judgement hall of God.

Most all the work completely
undone so very neatly,
They got back every longer,
every log and every shore;
Also clothes without a number,
some nails, felt and lumber,
They all got their losses
and some a darn sight more.

So now a verse of closure
from myself that great composer,
I did not get my issue
and a half a thousand due;
My land without an acre
that got torn up by the quaker,
I leave that to my maker,
and I think now that will do.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland ballad ....####

Collected in 1950 from the singing of Gerald Aylward [b.1917] of Cape Broyle, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA). A similar variant was collected in 1951 from John James of Trepassey, NL, and published as Tidal Wave in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

Notes from Earthquake Canada: On November 18, 1929, at 5:02 pm Newfoundland time, a major earthquake occurred approximately 250 kilometres south of Newfoundland along the southern edge of the Grand Banks. This magnitude 7.2 tremor was felt as far away as New York and Montreal. On land, damage due to earthquake vibrations was limited to Cape Breton Island where chimneys were overthrown or cracked and where some highways were blocked by minor landslides. A few aftershocks were felt in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland but caused no damage.

The earthquake triggered a large submarine slump (an estimated volume of 200 cubic kilometres of material was moved on the Laurentian slope) which ruptured 12 transatlantic cables in multiple places. The tsunami was recorded along the eastern seaboard as far south as South Carolina and across the Atlantic Ocean in Portugal.

Approximately 2 1/2 hours after the earthquake the tsunami struck the southern end of the Burin Peninsula in Newfoundland as three main pulses, causing local sea levels to rise between 2 and 7 metres. At the heads of several of the long narrow bays on the Burin Peninsula the momentum of the tsunami carried water as high as 27 metres. This giant sea wave claimed a total of 28 lives - 27 drowned on the Burin peninsula and a young girl never recovered from her injuries and died in 1933. More than 40 local villages in southern Newfoundland were affected, where numerous homes, ships, businesses, livestock and fishing gear were destroyed. Also lost were more than 280,000 pounds of salt cod. Total property losses were estimated at more than $1 million 1929 dollars (estimated as nearly $20 million 2004 dollars). This represents Canada's largest documented loss of life directly related to an earthquake (although oral traditions of First Nations people record that an entire coastal village was completely destroyed by the tsunami generated by the year 1700 magnitude 9 Cascadia earthquake off the coast of British Columbia).

From the Dictonary Of Newfoundland English:
Longer - long tapering pole, usually a conifer with bark left on, used in constructing roofs, floors, surfaces of stages and flakes, etc.; fence rail.


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