The Loss Of The Sailor's Home (Kenneth Peacock)

Come all ye men of Newfoundland
And listen to my song,
And I will try and describe to you
The loss of the Sailor's Home.

We were anchored home in Fortune Bay,
Being late up in the fall,
Bound across the Gulf for a load of coal
To the Isle of Cape Breton.

We loaded down in Sydney,
We waited there for a day,
On the twenty-fifth of December
We put her out to sea.

We ran our course 'bout east-by-south
For seventy miles or more,
To the northwest sailed to trip her out
And the wind began to roar.

The sea was foaming over her,
She looked just like a wreck,
When one more fiercer than all the rest
Came tumbling down on deck.

It washed away our wheel-gear,
It washed away our cook,
It washed away our captain,
And we all hope foresook.

We jumped into the rigging
And each one of us prayed
To the God that rides upon the storm
Our anxious lives to save.

We knew there was water in her,
She was deeper than before,
We found in her forecastle
'Twas a foot upon the floor.

We then got out a bucket,
We tried to bail her out,
We kept her free for a little while
But very soon gave out.

No food, no sleep, no water
Had we for three nights and days,
We thought it was over with us
As we leaned into the seas.

We got the jib upon her,
And then our riding sail,
Too weak to hoist our fore-sail,
In that tremendous gale.

She then worked off a little
She sunk beneath the foam,
And that was the last we saw of her,
The schooner Sailor's Home.

She was quickly in the breakers
All with a dismal shock,
When we three after each other
Jumped out upon a rock.

The mountain seemed so lofty,
Our feet and fingers stiff,
We thought it was only vanity
To try and scale the cliff.

But the stoutest man among us
Against the cliff stood tight,
Another man on his shoulders
Got up on top all right.

He then lowered down a cravat,
He tied another on,
And we two made an effort
To get up to the other man.

At last we all got up there
Out in the drifting snow,
We started for the country,
But where we did not know.

The walking it was awful,
The snow was up to our knees,
We thought we'd have to give it up
And lay down there and freeze.

Then the stoutest man among us
To reach a hilltop tried,
And right before all in the snow
A fisherman's hut he spied.

He then told his companions
And with an effort made
To reach that hut and there we found
Some fish and a loaf of bread.

Some matches and some kindling,
Some water and a box,
A blanket and a pair of drawers,
A shirt and a pair of socks.

We then lit up a fire
And boiled a kettle, too,
We drank a cup of coffee
Which warmed us through and through.

Oh then we felt a little better,
We sent one man out 'round,
He soon came back with the joyful news
We were in Miquelon town.

We went up to the Frenchmen,
We made our troubles known,
They came down with a stretcher,
Brought up the other man.

They sent away to St Peter's
The steamer for to come,
She took us to the hospital
And from there they sent us home.

When we arrived at Fortune
The people all came down
To hear how we lost the Sailor's Home
And how the rest were drowned.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland ballad ....####

Collected in 1959 by Kenneth Peacock from George William Decker [1878-1962] of Rocky Harbour, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 3, pp.960-962, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that many of these native shipwreck ballads have originated on the south coast of Newfoundland where the waters and coastline are particularly treacherous. In this ballad a group of sailors from Fortune are wrecked very near home on the French island of Miquelon.

From When Was That In Newfoundland compiled by Frank Martin:
December 31, 1890 - schooner Sailor's Home out of Fortune is lost - two crewmen drown.

Kenneth Peacock originally transcribed the word cravat as scravit. This text interprets scravit as a slip of the singer's tongue combining the word scarf with the word cravat.

See more songs about NL shipwreck songs..


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