Regatta (MacEdward Leach)
See also: Terra Nova Regatta (Johnny Burke)

There's a day that's held most dear
by everyone that's here,
By every Terra Nova son and daughter;
In the graveyard just ahead
they are sleeping with the dead,
The hardy boys that often rowed the water.

You remember well the year
when the Prince of Wales was here,
With a picked crew from the Hero just to face us;
But before they turned the stake
they were beaten half a length,
By our fishermen who rowed them at the races.

Yes, boys, sure, boys, everyone was there,
To see the pretty girls with smiling faces;
And there's many a city dude
that got paralyzed and stewed,
At Betsy Colbert's tent down at the races.

When the tents were in full swing
and the music sweetly ring,
And the boiled crubeens upon the dishes sloping;
The figgy duffs were seen that would sink a brigantine,
Or would gap the Yankee hatchet trying to open.

The rum and ginger beer
your poor stinking heart would cheer,
Sure you would never lose your head
but take things coolly;
The whiskey was so mild you could give it to a child,
Sure they call it lemonade at Ballyhooly.

Yes, boys, sure, boys everyone was there,
To see the rousing fights with some hard cases;
And it's many a time Ben Cox had come
to heel it in his socks,
The evening of the Terra Nova races.

Coming on the afternoon
we would heel it pretty soon,
To the platform where the merry dance adorning;
The fiddler would cry out, "Ladies in the Ballroom,"
Sure we often held the platform till the morning.

Out in hornpipes, jigs and reels,
oh, how happy we would feel,
Boys and girls would laugh with smiling faces;
I danced the whole night long
with a girl that had one eye,
Said I, the dickens, odds were at the races.

Yes, boys, sure, boys, everyone was there,
To see the pretty girls with smiling faces;
And there's many and many a fellow,
oh, they lost and got new girls,
At Tom Martin's dancing platform at the races.

####.... Variant of an original Newfoundland ballad by Johnny Burke ....####

Sung in 1950 by Morris Houlihan [1885-?] of Flatrock, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

The original of this ballad was published as Terra Nova Regatta in Burke's Ballads, p.34, c.1960, compiled by John White and archived at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Libraries, Centre For Newfoundland Studies - Digitized Books collection.

See more songs by Johnny Burke.

¹ The St John's Regatta was first documented in 1818, and is still a public holiday today.
² The visit of His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, on board his flagship, HMS Hero, took place in 1860.
³ Ballyhooly, County Cork, is the site of the oldest regatta in Ireland.

From the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English:
Crubeens - pickled pigs' feet.
Figgy Duff - boiled pudding containing raisins.


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