The Newfoundland Fishermen (Gerald S Doyle)
Sung to the air: Honest Old John Bull

Come, messmates, attend to my ditty,
'Tis a subject I know that will please,
And all native lassies so pretty,
Whose lovers are on the blue seas;
'Tis of the brave Newfoundlanders,
Who hazard their life for the fair,
And support the whole trade of the island,
By industry, hardship, and care.

What a brave set of men are the sealers,
Who venture each spring to the ice,
Whose sufferings 'tis hard to describe,
For they're often frost burnt
and crushed in the ice;
Whilst other poor fellows with laughter,
Today meets all danger so brave,
By some unexpected disaster,
Tomorrow finds a watery grave.

The next it delights me to mention,
Are the Western men skillful and sure,
Who at sea, set with rigour and caution,
And with patience all hardship endure;
Though the gale rages violent around them,
And the rain soaks them through to the skin,
Though thick fog and darkness surround them,
A boat load of fish they bring in.

The small boat men also though easy,
Their toil to those mentioned before,
What man will dare say they are lazy,
Or sleep away time on the shore;
For early and late they are moving,
From one fishing place to another,
And jiggers and ground lines are using,
In aid of wife, children and mother.

The seamen who man our great navy,
'Gainst land, rocks, or shoals have dislike,
Says a light boat and sea room but give me,
And it's not to a little I'll strike;
Not so with brave Newfoundlanders,
Much sea room they seldom can boast,
Though dreadful it breaks on each headland,
In darkness they make for the coast.

All praise then bestow on such hearties,
My heart swells with rapture, for I
Have long seen the acts of all parties,
With pity, amazement and joy;
And who that can feel for another,
But will glow with delight as he sings,
The praises of each hardy brother,
Till their fame through the whole island rings.

Then cheer up ye brave Newfoundlanders,
Though danger and toil does beset,
Ye are happy in this your own Island,
And joys are in store for you yet;
Now we all have our troubles to go through,
As we glide over life's devious way,
There's a Providence guards as we pass through,
The turmoil and blunt of the day.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland tribute song ....####
Published by Gerald S Doyle in Old-Time Songs And Poetry Of Newfoundland: Songs Of The People From The Days Of Our Forefathers, 1st Ed, p.70, 1927.

From the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:
Western men - fishermen of the south and south-west coasts of Newfoundland who came from Placentia Bay, Fortune Bay, etc, to fish in St Mary's Bay during the late spring and summer.


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