They Say The Labrador Is Sold For .30¢
(Johnny Burke)

Says Bride Kinsella:
I hear the Labrador is sold today
from Betsy Cox,
The country is on its uppers,
and the town is on the rocks;
I'm told it's sold for thirty cents,
that's all that he could raise;
Some fellow came from Canada,
he had stowed in the vase.

What is his name said Martha Snook.
I heard from Julia Breen,
A fellow they call Chaplin
who cuts didoes on the screen;
Is that him on the movies
that I thought a millionaire,
Who couldn't scrape up cash enough
to pay to cut his hair.

I heard him say if hard he's pushed
he may scrape ten cents more,
But he wants a suit of Stanfield's
for to face the Labrador;
He says a cotton drawers
don't suit at forty-five below,
To live in Battle Harbour
with the winter winds and snow.

He loves the country dearly
and it grieves his heart with pain,
To think about poor huskies that
must spend their lives in Nain;
And picture those poor creatures
for a living hard must fight,
While here you're dodging motor cars
at morning, noon and night.

When I heard the Labrador was sold
my heart feels sad today,
To think on Grady Harbour
as a child I used to play;
Where many a night upon the stage,
and at daylight I was found,
On the bow oar in the cod seine,
and we rowing to the ground.

And now who sold the Labrador,
the people want to know,
Where fishermen each summer
to different harbours go;
Mr Alderdice, Sir William,
and Sir Richard all deny,
Then it must be Martin Dingle
who sold us on the sly.

####.... Johnny Burke [1851-1930] of St John's, NL ....####
Published as Dear Lord, They Say The Labrador Is Sold For Thirty Cents in Burke's Popular Songs, page 21, 1929, Long Brothers, printers, St John's, NL.

Also published as Dear Lord, They Say The Labrador Is Sold For .30¢ in Burke's Ballads, p.48, 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:
Bow Oar - cuddy oar; foreward oar. Position of oars used in a trap skiff.
Cod-Seine - large net, up to 600 feet (182.8 m) in length, set around a school of cod, the 'foots' drawn together to form a bag, and hauled at sea or in shallow water near the shore.
Ground - area of shoal water with abundant bait-fish, plankton, etc, where fishing is successfully carried out.
Stage - elevated platform on the shore with working tables, sheds, etc, where fish are landed and processed for salting and drying, and fishing gear and supplies are stored; Fishing stage.

From Your Dictionary:
Cut Didoes - to behave in mischievous or silly ways.

From Wikipedia:
Nain - the northernmost permanent settlement in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, located about 370 kilometres by air from Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The town was established as a Moravian mission in 1771 by Jens Haven and other missionaries. As of 2011, the population was 1,424 mostly Inuit and mixed Inuit-European.
Sir Charles Spencer (Charlie) Chaplin - KBE [1889-1977] was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the silent era. Chaplin became a worldwide icon through his screen persona The Tramp and is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the film industry. His career spanned more than 75 years, from childhood in the Victorian era until a year before his death in 1977, and encompassed both adulation and controversy.

Additional notes:
¹Grady Harbour is a small island located within the Gannet Island Park Reserve, and is approximately 1176 km (or 1 day and 8 hours) by ferry southeast of Nain, Labrador.
²Based in Truro, NS, Canada, Stanfield's Limited has been making apparel products for Canadians since 1856. Of course, it is known as "The Underwear Company"; however, its product offering extends beyond men's underwear and winter underwear into socks, sportswear, fire retardant safety base layers, and ladies underwear products. Stanfield's is synonymous with Canadian winters.


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