Concerning One Summer In Bonay I Spent
(Alan Mills) video
#1316: YouTube video by oldirishladdie
℗2010 ~ Used with permission ~

Come all ye good people and listen to me,
A short simple ditty I'll sing unto ye;
A short simple ditty that's lately in print,
Concerning one summer in Bonay I spent.

'Twas late up in May, the time being advanced,
No railroad was open to give us a chance;
The Government's upset, no employment at all,
We shipped down in Bonay, the wages being small.

On the thirteenth of May we arrived at Bonay,
We went in the river the very next day;
'Twas Banbary River where we were consigned,
We had one boat for wood and another for rhind.

That job being over, the fishing began,
We had some fine boats and a fine crew of men;
To make up our wages we all were inclined,
Two boats and three cod seines,
our hooks and our lines.

Now, the girls in our island
have nothing to say,
We had them from Bryant's Cove
and right 'round the bay;
We had them from Pouch Cove,
St John's, Salmonier,
And I wonder to heaven
what brought them all here.

For the boys on the island have nothing to do,
They wear paper collars, likewise polished shoes;
You'd swear they belonged unto some noble race,
When they go out on Sunday their damsels to face.

To tell all their names it would cause you to smile,
We had Ham, Shem and Japhet,
belonged to Belle Isle;
We had three from Brigus, the flower of the flock,
And Bertha from Topsail with her cotton frock.

I'll say nothing more till the voyage is all spent,
I'll go to St John's and I'll put it in print;
I'll put it in print what I lately composed,
The girls in our island can't mend their own clothes.

####.... Author unknown. Original Newfoundland song ....####
The video above features a recording by Alan Mills edited by Edith Fowke (O' Canada - A History In Song, trk#B19, 1956, Folkways Records, NY); and (We'll Rant And We'll Roar - Songs Of Newfoundland, trk#4, 1958, Folkways Records, NY).

See more songs by Alan Mills.

This song was originally published in Gerald S Doyle's Old Time Songs and Poetry of Newfoundland: Songs Of The People From The Days Of Our Forefathers (p.59, 1927; 2nd edition, p.33, 1940; 3rd edition, p.20, 1955; 4th edition, p.15, 1978) with an additional verse between verses seven and eight as follows:

Now, as for John Penney, he is a smart chap,
And as for Lucy Heffers, I'm sure he won't get;
He don't give a darn, he is always in time,
To take Lizzie Seaward to bring it in rhyme.

Gerald S Doyle noted:
The author of this song was a simple fisherman. It is sung by hundreds of fishermen over the island and is a great favorite. Bonay is in the Straits of Belle Isle.

Also collected in 1950 from Mrs H R Bridger of Camperdown, Halifax County, NS, by Helen Creighton, record #1710, Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, Virtual Exhibits.

A variant was also published by Edith Fowke and Richard Johnston (Folk Songs Of Canada, p.28, 1954, Waterloo Music).

From the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:
Draw - in the inshore fishery, the selection by lot of a fishing location or berth.
Rhind, also rind, rine - bark or cortex of a tree, specifically a 6-ft (1.8 m) length of bark removed in one piece from a standing spruce or fir and used for various fisheries and building purposes.
Voyage - enterprise or period of fishing, sealing or whaling; fishery; frequently used with a defining word such as Banking, Caplin, Fall, Saving, Sealing, Trap, etc.


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