The Banks Of The Gaspereau (Kenneth Peacock)

Come all you summer servants,
come listen to my song,
It's all about a Yankee crew
that logged upon the pond;
Our main-boss it was Johnson,
our foreman it was Flear,
As we worked up on the Gaspereau
for the best part of a year.

Till one of our merchant's daughters,
and she was handsome too,
She lately came a-courting
one of our Yankee crew;
She always wore a red and a purple dress,
her apron brown also,
And they calls her Robin Red Breast
on the banks of the Gaspereau.

I said, "My darling fair one,
if you will but agree,
I'll show to you the straight road
across the country."
"Oh yes, oh yes, kind sir," she cried,
"with you I'm willing to go,
We'll bid adieu to all kind friends
on the banks of the Gaspereau."

Oh straight unto the old man,
to the old man straight away,
"I want to wed your daughter,
your answer quick, I pray."
"Oh yes, oh, yes, kind sir," he cried,
"with you she's willing to go,
If you'll live and be contented
on the banks of the Gaspereau."

"Oh no, oh no," this young man cried,
"this place I cannot bear,
I'll take her to the state of Maine
and we'll live happy there.
"Oh no, oh no," the old man cried,
"with you she will not go,
Can't you live and be contented
on the banks of the Gaspereau?"

Oh now this couple is parted
and never to meet again,
Where one belongs to Gaspereau
the other the state of Maine;
I'll travel this wide world over,
I'll travel it to and fro,
But I'll never forget the girl I love
on the banks of the Gaspereau.

They told us all the lies they could
to fill our hearts with tears,
They said we would not drive the logs
within the next three years;
"My friends," he said unto his men,
"We'll let those gallopers know."
And in seventy days those Yankee braves
drove down through Gaspereau.

Oh now the logs they are all drove
and boomed upon the pond,
And when we gets our money, b'ys,
we're all off for St John's.[sic***]
We'll drink a health to Robinson,
the Stars and Stripes also,
May the devil fly 'way his wild calloo
on the banks of the Gaspereau.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a traditional lumber camp ballad [Laws C26] (Native American Balladry, G Malcolm Laws, 1964) ....####
Collected in 1958 from Levi Everett Bennett [1899-?] of St Paul's, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports , Volume 3, pp.744-745, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted: "There are at least three rivers or lakes named Gaspereau, but the one in this Canadian ballad is in New Brunswick. The town in the last verse should be ***Saint John, not St John's, an influence from Newfoundland. Another possible Newfoundland influence is the use of the word pond for lake."

From the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:
Galloper - type of small (30 to 40 ton) vessel used in the cod-fishery, the seal hunt, and coastal trade.

Note: Calloo - folk name of a common North American long-tailed sea duck Clangula hyemalis also known by the folknames Hell's Chicken and Old Squaw.
~ North America Bird Folknames and Names
(James K Sayre ©1996)

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