Forty Fishermen (MacEdward Leach)
See also: The August Gale (Bill Wilson)

Forty fishermen no more
their homes would see,
No more to see their children dear,
their kind and loving wife;
For in that storm on Thursday morn,
Those brave men lost their life.

The wind with fury it did blow
that fatal Thursday morn,
They raised their mains'l and their jib
for to ride out the storm;
But all in vain their tiny craft
the fury could not stand,
And these brave heroes lost their lives
while trying to make the land.

The bone and sinew of the land
around Placentia Bay,
And on that wild and trech'rous coast
gave up their lives that day;
Like daring sons of Newfoundland
all hardships they must stand,
At duty's call in spring and fall
their lives takes in their hand.

Most every year the news we hear
of storms upon the deep,
And wives and orphans left at home
in sorrow for to weep;
And anxious eyes are looking out
around our rock-bound shore,
For husband, brother, or for son
alas to see no more.

It's seldom do we have to tell
of such a heavy toll,
All schooners lost upon that day
with every precious soul;
Whilst empty boats turned bottom up
and not a soul did save,
Some forty fishermen or more
to meet a watery grave.

It is a hard and a trying blow
for those who's left to weep,
The sole provider of the home
now sleeps quiet 'neath the deep;
The wives and orphans left to mourn,
the widow's only son,
Are also numbered with the dead,
God's will it must be done.

Pity the poor in time of need
their names we'd like to see,
For all amounts if big or small
to help the P.M.D.;
A happy mind a hundred fold
you'll get it back for sure,
That is God's promise to all those
who helped the needy poor.

Once happy homes are now in grief
the blow is hard to stand,
Do bone and sinew of the coast
the pride of Newfoundland;
The fishermen in open boats
the storms and seas must brave,
All for the sake of those he loved
must meet a watery grave.

So let us pray for those away
who on the sea must roam
To guide them in their tiny crafts
and send them safe at home
And put your trust in Providence
who'll always heed your prayer
And give you strength and fortitude
your heavy cross to bear

And now they're in that heavenly land
and free from care and toil,
To rest with God in heaven above,
in splendour for to share;
They done their part to save their lives
like heroes brave that day,
Their work was done upon this earth
and God called them away.

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

Collected in 1951 from Michael (Mike) Molloy [1893-?] of St Shott's, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

This song is an apparent plea for aid for the families of those fishermen who were lost in the gale which struck Placentia Bay, NL, on August 25, 1935.

A related song, The August Gale, was written by William (Bill) Wilson Jr [1931-1993] of Meerasheen, Placentia Bay, NL and collected in 1976 by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best and published as #5A in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press © 1985/2003).

Note: Other songs at GEST about the Newfoundland gale of August 25, 1935, include: The August Gale and The Song For The Annie Young.


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GEST Songs Of Newfoundland And Labrador


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