The Loss of the Marion

You can hear Simani perform this song on youtube:



Recorded by Simani (Heaven By Sea, trk#6, 1990, SWC Productions, English Harbour West, NL).


In 1915, on the tenth day of June,
At Burke’s wharf the Marion lay,
Prepared for the Banks as was custom to do,
All loaded with caplin for bait.

The wind from the northwest, a fine summer breeze,
As Ike Jones from St. Jacques he steered;
And the boys in the focsle made plans for that night,
When they’d all go ashore in St. Pierre.

Some were uneasy, there’d be trouble they said,
‘Cause Ike Jones was noted to fight;
And at the Café de France on the last trip he made,
A Frenchman had threatened his life.

The challenge to fight was issued that night,
While the cheap French liquor ran free;
The French captain then warned the Marion’s men,
He would answer their challenge at sea.

Next day the Marion set sail again,
And so to the story relays;
The French beam trawler weighed anchor as well,
And followed close by in her wake.

She’s a Fortune Bay schooner heading out for the Banks,
With fine hardy Fortune Bay men;
But some on the Cape were rumoured to say,
She’d never be heard from again.

The fate that befell the Marion’s crew,
And their schooner will never be known;
Not a trace and no tidings were ever again,
To be heard by those waiting at home.

Some say the Frenchman was true to his word,
Some say he confessed ‘fore he died;
That he scuttled the Marion and settled the debt,
Not taking one man o’er the side.

Families of Skinners and Vallis and Miles,
Grieved for their loved ones on shore;
And the Newfoundland story of loss to the sea,
Was told as so often before.

She’s a Fortune Bay schooner sailing out from St. Jacques,
With a fine crew of Fortune Bay men;
But never no more will she pass by the light,
With her jib flapping into the wind.

No, never no more will she pass by the light,
With her jib flapping into the wind.



From the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English:
Caplin – small, iridescent deep-water fish (Mallotus villosus) like a smelt which, followed by the cod, appears inshore during June and July to spawn along the beaches, and is netted for bait, for manuring the fields, or dried, salted, smoked, or frozen for eating.

From the Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador (MUNFLA) Nautical Terminology and Acronyms:
Focsle- ¹ forward part of a merchant vessel; ² crew’s quarters in forward part of vessel.



GEST Songs from Newfoundland and Labrador

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