Not Burnt Out (Johnny Burke)

'Twas in the year of ninety-two,
just after the Big Fire,
We got an order from E P
for goods we may require;
And to the building we did go
where hundreds I did see,
All waiting for to get their
turn the very same as me.

We got inside and took a seat,
delighted too, by Jove,
We sat to get an order for
a Yankee cooking stove;
And lumber for to build a shed
we next two hours spent,
As we had our home near Ross's
in a little canvas tent.

A great many stood 'round the rink,
all waiting for a note,
Some wanted sugar, tea and soup,
a pants or Sunday coat;
And many waited, but in vain,
till even after dark,
To try and get a padlock
for their pantry in the park.

When one old seedy looking chap
came in and then sat down,
His face from rum would advertise
each bond store in the town;
He said like many more that day,
he lost his home and all,
And had no place to put his head
the long, cold, dreary fall.

The clerk he heard his story,
how his family and his wife,
Their little home was now destroyed,
the savings of a life;
And no insurance on the place
to make his case more sad,
That made the clerk to utter,
'Pon my word, it is too bad.

He got an order filled in haste
for butter, cakes and hams,
Corn beef and potted parrot tongues,
for marmalade and jams;
And on his face a funny smile
as he went out the door,
And told to call next evening
if he wanted any more.

As with great haste the steps he flew,
I heard the sergeant call:
"Why, that's an old and drunken bum
that's not burnt out at all."
When one old man who sat behind
sang out: "Now that's not so,
For I can certify myself
he's burnt out years ago."

####.... Johnny Burke [1851-1930] of St John's, NL ....####
Published in Burke's Ballads, pp.12-13, 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

From the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:
Bond Store - warehouse or cellar where spiritous liquor is stored; liquor store.
Parrot - also sea-parrot; Atlantic common puffin.

From The Free Dictionary: Potted - preserved in a pot or can or jar; prevented from decaying or spoiling and prepared for future use.

From Fireplace To Cookstove: Technology And The Domestic Ideal In America by Priscilla J Brewer:
Yankee Stove - patent elevated oven cooking stove manufactured by W A Arnold & Company, Northampton, MA.

From Newfoundland And Labrador Heritage:
The St John's Fire - broke out in a St John's stable after a lit pipe or match fell into a bundle of hay. Although containable at first, the flames quickly spread due to dry weather conditions, a disorganized fire department, and poor planning on the part of city officials. Within hours, the fire had destroyed almost all of St John's, leaving 11,000 people homeless and causing $13 million in property damage.

Excerpted from Parks Canada:
Ross's - "hanging valley" or side valley formed by a small glacier, between the summit of Signal Hill and a lower coastal ridge containing North Head. The valley was named for Captain George Ross, Commander of the local detachment of the Royal Engineers (c.1797-1806).

Excerpted from The St John's Fire Of July 8, 1892: The Politics Of Rebuilding, 1892-1893 by Melvin Baker, 1984, pp.23-30:
Edward Patrick (E P) Morris - [1859-1935] St John's West member of Newfoundland's House of Assembly, Attorney General of Newfoundland (1889-1895), member of the executive committee of Premier (1878-1885) and (1889-1894) Sir William Vallance Whiteway's [1828-1908] 1892 Fire Relief Committee, and chairman of a sub-committee to distribute financial aid and relief to victims of the Great Fire. In 1909 Morris led his party to victory and became Prime Minister (1909-1917). In 1918 he was elevated to the British peerage as the first Baron Morris. Lord Morris then moved to London and took his seat in the House of Lords. He lived the rest of his life there, only returning to Newfoundland once. He died in London at the age of 76.


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