Forty Fishermen

A field recording of this song can be found at the MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada website.



Forty fishermen no more their homes would see,
No more to see their children dear, their kind and loving wife;
For in that storm on Thursday morn,
Those brave men lost their life.

The wind with fury it did blow that fatal Thursday morn,
They raised their mains’l and their jib for to ride out the storm;
But all in vain their tiny craft the fury could not stand,
And these brave heroes lost their lives while trying to make the land.

The bone and sinew of the land around Placentia Bay,
And on that wild and trech’rous coast gave up their lives that day;
Like daring sons of Newfoundland all hardships they must stand,
At duty’s call in spring and fall their lives takes in their hand.

Most every year the news we hear of storms upon the deep,
And wives and orphans left at home in sorrow for to weep;
And anxious eyes are looking out around our rock-bound shore,
For husband, brother, or for son alas to see no more.

It’s seldom do we have to tell of such a heavy toll,
All schooners lost upon that day with every precious soul;
Whilst empty boats turned bottom up and not a soul did save,
Some forty fishermen or more to meet a watery grave.

It is a hard and a trying blow for those who’s left to weep,
The sole provider of the home now sleeps quiet ‘neath the deep;
The wives and orphans left to mourn, the widow’s only son,
Are also numbered with the dead, God’s will it must be done.

Pity the poor in time of need their names we’d like to see,
For all amounts if big or small to help the P.M.D.;
A happy mind a hundred fold you’ll get it back for sure,
That is God’s promise to all those who helped the needy poor.

Once happy homes are now in grief the blow is hard to stand,
Do bone and sinew of the coast the pride of Newfoundland;
The fishermen in open boats the storms and seas must brave,
All for the sake of those he loved must meet a watery grave.

So let us pray for those away who on the sea must roam
To guide them in their tiny crafts and send them safe at home
And put your trust in providence who’ll always heed your prayer
And give you strength and fortitude your heavy cross to bear

And now they’re in that heavenly land and free from care and toil,
To rest with God in heaven above, in splendour for to share;
They done their part to save their lives like heroes brave that day,
Their work was done upon this earth and God called them away.


Lyrics from GEST Songs of Newfoundland and Labrador

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *