Rolling Home (To Dear Newfoundland)
(MacEdward Leach)
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(To the tune Rolling Home To Dear Old Ireland)

Lay aloft, you hearty sailors,
See your braces are all clear;
Get your bunts and clew lines ready,
For Newfoundland we will steer.

Rolling home to dear Newfoundland,
Sailing home across the sea;
Sailing home to dear old Newfie,
Coming back, fair land, to thee.

To Malacca's fair-haired daughters,
Unto ye we'll bid adieu;
But we won't forget the good times,
That we had along with you.

Lay aloft, you hearty sailors,
Now our topsails for to store;
We are now out in mid-ocean,
In a heavy storm and snow.

Rolling home to dear Newfoundland,
Sailing home across the sea;
Sailing home to dear old Newfie,
Coming back, fair land, to thee.

Around Cape Race on a winter's morning,
And her decks all ice and snow;
You can hear the sailors swearing,
On the hardships they go through.

Now we're off The Narrows,
The tide has all got us in tow;
Towing into St. John's Harbour,
Where we'll meet our friends and foe.

Rolling home to dear Newfoundland,
Sailing home across the sea;
Sailing home to dear old Newfie,
Coming back, fair land, to thee.

####.... Author unknown ....####

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).

This appears to be an original Newfoundland capstan shanty, usually sung while weighing anchor for the journey home; however, there are many variants in many countries with different locations in the lyrics. It can be assumed from these lyrics that the sailors are aboard a square-rigged sailing ship. (See terminology below.)

See more Sea Shanties from Newfoundland and Labrador.

From World Civilizations: The Global Experience - Third Edition, Stearns, Adas, Schwartz, Gilbert:
Malacca - Portuguese factory or fortified trade town located near the tip of the Malayan peninsula, about 198km northwest of Singapore; a traditional center for trade among the southeastern Asian islands. (p.326).

From Wikipedia:
The Narrows - one and only entrance to St John's harbour consisting of a narrow channel between the Southside and Signal hills. It has a least depth of 11 meters and at its narrowest point near Chain Rock it is 61 meters wide. The Narrows has served an important defense of the city of St John's from early pirates and settlers in 1655 to the Second World War. In 1655 vice admiral Christopher Martin erected a fort on the south side to prevent privateers and enemy vessels from entering the port. In 1763 Fort Amherst was built in the same area. In the late 1700s a chain was erected across the narrows from Chain Rock to Pancake Rock which could be raised in the event of enemy ships advancing into the harbour. During the Second World War a steel mesh was installed to prevent enemy submarines from entering the harbour.
Cape Race - point of land located at the southeastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula on the island of Newfoundland, Canada. Its name is thought to come from the original Portuguese name for this cape, Raso, meaning bare. The Cape appeared on early sixteenth century maps as Cape Raso and its name may derive from a cape of the same name at the mouth of the Tagus River in Portugal.

From The Age Of Sail Ship & Shipbuilding Terminology:
Brace - rope by which a yard is swung around and secured to shift a sail into a favourable position to the wind and the course of a square-rigged ship. Performing this action was thus called 'bracing the yard'.
Bunt - middle part of a sail which is purposely formed into a kind of curved bag or cavity so that the sail catches more wind.
Clewline - hauling line attached to the two lower corners or clews of a square sail, running along the underside of the yard from the outboard ends to the mast and then down to the deck, used for hauling up the clews when furling a sail.
Square-rigged - fitted principally with four-sided, square sails set from yards.
Topsail - sail of a square-rigged vessel set on the topsail yard, normally the second sail in ascending order from the deck.
Yard - large horizontal spar tapered toward each end and fastened to the mast of a square-rigged vessel for the purpose of carrying a square sail.

Square-rigged ship


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