“Mariposa”

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1.On the twenty-fourth of September in the year of ninety-five,
‘Twill be a memorial day for us as long as we’re alive.
Early on that morning, a steamer ran on shore;
There’s a place called Grassy Point on gloomy Labrador.

2.She steamed along at half speed, the tide being running fast;
We’d turned her bow far from her course, the course that was her last.
She was heard to strike—once, twice, and thrice, and then they knew no more,
Until the rocks burst through her bow, the rocks of Labrador.

3.Her name was the Mariposa; she steamed from old Quebec,
With a large and general cargo and sheep all on her deck.
Her trip was uneventful like many a trip before,
Until she was plunging through the fogs on pitiless Labrador.

4.The people crowded to the wreck, her cargo tried to save,
And many in that brave attempt there met with a watery grave.
A portion of her cargo is gone up and down the shore,
Honestly and hardily earned by the people of Labrador.

Source: Borlase, Tim. Songs of Labrador. [Fredericton, NB]: Goose Lane, 1993, p.161.

This note was included in Borlase’s book: “This is another local wreck song; it is generally remembered today in lower Labrador. There are still stories of the good things that were recovered from this wreck. I was told that lumber for a number of houses was “salvaged” from the Mariposa. The general attitude toward wrecks was summed up for me by one man, who said, ‘If the good Lord sees fit to wrack a vessel, we hope it’ll be hereabouts; we can use anything on board.’”–MacEdward Leach”


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