The Excel

There are two very similar versions of “The Excel” which were printed in Lehr and Best’s Come and I Will Sing You. The first version was collected from Mary (Min) Caul from Arnold’s Cove in 1977 whereas the second version was collected from Dorman Ralph of St. John’s in the same year. Although Come and I Will Sing You says for both versions to be played “slowly,” Caul’s version has an additional note which says to play it “with feeling.” Because both versions are so similar, only one version is included on this website.

Source:
Lehr, Genevieve, and Anita Best. 1985. Come and I will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook. Toronto and Buffalo: University of Toronto Press.

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Lyrics

1 Come all ye Newfoundlanders, who suffered from the gale,
I hope you’ll pay attention and listen to my tale.

2 It is a tale of pity, that which I have to tell
Concerning of that fatal wreck in a vessel called the Excel.

3 On the rocky shore on the Labrador, where the dreadful deed was done
In a place called the Black Island, outside of Grady’s Run.

4 Where we had spent our summer in working day and night
To earn bread for our family , and that with all our might.

5 On the tenth day of October the wind began to blow
And that with it a heavy sea, and likewise showers of snow.

6 We then prepared, got ready, when everything looked grey;
We hoisted our colours to the mast, hoping to sail next day .

7 We then prepared, got ready, our vessel to secure
And after everything was done, we could do nothing more.

8 Only watch our lines and keep secured, praying to God for help
Thinking if our vessel should be lost, we all hands might be saved.

9 We prayed to the Almighty One, the One who answers prayer
Thinking that our vessel might be lost , likewise our little gear.

10 But He would not hearken or obey, we trusted alone in faith;
It leaves me here a mourner, my story to relate.

11 The women and the children, stood on her quarter-deck
When a heavy sea flowed over her, and swept them from the wreck.

12 Among this fateful number, there was one whose locks were grey,
He stood apart so moderate, his mind seemed far away.

13 When all was calm and silent, those screeching could be heard
For they was hurled in instantly, to the prison of their Lord.

14 This dreadful night is passed and gone, its marks are left behind
It is a warning for ye all, to prepare while it is time.

15 To meet your friends and loved ones, the ones whom you adore
On the blissful shores of Canaan, where partings are no more.

Citation: Lehr, Genevieve. Come and I Will Sing You, p.59-60


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