Callahan (MacEdward Leach)

It being in the depth of winter,
I'll ne'er forget the day,
With Callahan in the Hilton,
on the western banks we lay;
It being foggy in the morning,
just at the peep of light,
When we went down to haul our trawls,
we turned up all right.

"Come bait 'em up again me boys!"
we heard our skipper say,
"There's halibut here and we must try
and run once more today!"

The second time that we went out
it wasn't fit to go,
With a wind southeast and breezing up,
and every sign of snow;
Our trawls they lay to loo'ard of us,
we told our skipper so,
And that our chances were but small,
if it came on to blow.

"Come double-bank to Little Bud,
try all your skill and might,
Sure if you go down astern
you won't go out of sight;
Three men go in a dory,
if the bad then comes to worse,
We'll turn our vessel's head astern,
so that you won't get lost."

When we were done the parlaying,
the snow was falling thick,
With a wind southeast and breezing up,
I tell you I was sick;
We got our trawl line underrun,
'twas as much as we could do,
And just as we had sighted her,
our oar he broke in two.

We then came to an anchor
all for to ride it out,
Our buoy line it soon parted,
we all know they are not stout;
We rigged a jig of halibut
and threw them in the sea,
For she would not lie stem to head,
we could not keep her free.

You may talk of the courage of soldiers,
they are the bravest lads,
But the courage of the Gloucester fishermen,
I'm sure they are the best.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional ballad ....####
Sung in 1950 by Pat Sullivan [1880-1959] of Calvert, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

From the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English:
Trawl - buoyed line, of great length, to which short lines with baited hooks are attached at intervals.
Underrun - to overhaul or examine a cable on the underside.

From The Free Dictionary:
Double-bank - to row by rowers sitting side by side in twos on a bank or thwart; to double-bank an oar; to set two men to pulling one oar.


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