The Riverhead La'nchin' On Jubilee Day
(Kenneth Peacock)

See also: Riverhead Launching (MacEdward Leach)

To the Riverhead la'nchin' on Jubilee Day
Came the men from St Mary's
from half 'round the Bay;
They all came from Gaskiers,
Coote's Point, and Mall Bay,
For to help Uncle Steve get the craft underway.

The custom-house officer, the magistrate, too,
All turned out in style the new boat to view;
There was Doctor Conroy and his lady so fair,
Like a duke and a duchess a-taking the air.

And busy Jack Savage from Hamilton Street,
Came out from St John's all his friends for to meet;
There was Gunrodden and Fagan, and fat Billy Joe,
And they sang to the praises of Lord Lettergo.

And we had Billy Hanlon for shantyman, too,
And all the Bay knows just what Billy can do;
When he sings in the coves in the fall of the year,
All the gulls from Gull Island come out for to hear.

So we sang Johnny Coaker and hauled 'er along,
And all the b'ys present were pulling so strong;
When Missus McGrath broked her arm on 'er bow,
We all hove together when Billy said, "Now!"

Now after hard heaving she got underway,
And slipped down the ways and right out in the Bay;
'Twould do your heart good for to see such a charm,
For to see 'er slide out in the Riverhead Arm.

We all were delighted to see such a thing,
We wished 'er good luck and we cheered for the King;
We cheered for His Majesty loudly and strong,
And we wished him a future both happy and long.

And as for Steve Fagan to know him you'd wish,
At seventy-two still a devil for fish;
A true fishing skipper out after a load,
And he trained his three b'ys well, Gus, Leo, and Joe.

And as for the b'ys, sure they're very well known,
If they were like others they might stayed at home;
But they fished out of Boston with old Gerry Shea,
And they built their own houses and paid their own way.

And as for the boat we all wish 'er the best,
We know P.B.'s building can stand any test;
We wish 'er forever as years roll around,
Full hatches, fair landings, and a good holding ground.

Long life to the boat and success to 'er crew,
My song it is finished, my liquor is too;
But 'twill be a long time ere we have in the Bay,
Such a time as the la'nchin' on Jubilee Day.

####.... Author unknown. Original Newfoundland moniker song ....####

Collected in 1961 by Kenneth Peacock from Patrick J Rossiter [1900-1980] of Fermeuse, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 3, pp.882-883, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A variant was collected in 1951 from Nicholas (Nick) Davis [1914-?] of St Shott's, NL, and published as Riverhead Launching in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada ©2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

Kenneth Peacock noted that Riverhead is in St Mary's Bay about twenty miles from Fermeuse, straight across the barrens of the Avalon Peninsula, but is much farther around the coast by road or boat. (For a quite different native ballad with a St Mary's Riverhead locale see The Loss Of The Eliza.)


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