Full Loads To The Sealers (Johnny Burke)

And here's grand success to the sealers,
the pride of our city and town,
Who face the dog hood on the ocean
and with bat, like heroes, knock down;
Who sail the wild sea for a living
and all sorts of hardship can stand,
The pride of their home Terra Nova,
the brave boys of dear Newfoundland.

In stormy or sunshiny weather
the sealer must face the wild floe,
With a cake of hardtack in his jumper
and three fathoms for hauling his tow;
And miles on hard ice he must travel,
the home of the white-coat to find,
Over fields of rough ice and wild waters,
laced tidy while hauling behind.

To tread the frozen pans of ice
the sealer tough and strong,
Well able on a jamb of ice to haul a tow along;
In frost and sleet they can't be beat,
or on a steamboat's deck;
And very often gets a dip in water to the neck.

Success to you sons of bold Neptune,
may good luck attend you this spring,
When bound up for home and you loaded
on the barricade will sing;
With a bill for your wife or sweetheart,
and for your success we all pray,
And the fair maid take for a partner
the true love you left in the bay.

####.... Johnny Burke [1851-1930] of St John's, NL ....####
Published in Burke's Ballads, pp.28-29, 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:
Barricade - short raised deck at the fore end of a vessel; forecastle.
Bat - stout pole, 5-8 feet (1.5-2.4 m) long with an iron hook and spike fastened to one end, used to assist a sealer on the ice and to kill seals.
Dog Hood - very dangerous, breeding-age, male hood seal.
Hard-Tack - hard bread; thick, oval-shaped coarse biscuit, baked without salt and kiln-dried; ship-biscuit.
Jamb, also Jam - impenetrable, tightly-packed field of salt-water floe-ice.
Lace - to fasten a number of seal pelts together at the edge, forming a tow for hauling over the ice by rope.
Pan - floating field of Arctic ice.
Tow - number of sealskins with blubber attached, laced together and hauled over the ice by a rope.
White-Coat - young harp seal with white fur hunted for its blubber.

From Wiktionary:
Jumper - loose outer jacket, especially one worn by workers and sailors.


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