You can hear The Punters perform this song on youtube:
Twas in the year of thirty-four in the last daylight of May
Jim Harris in the Ronald P from St. Kieran’s sailed away
He sailed away in search of bait till he came to Paradise Sound
Where to his great and sad mistake, the Irene he ran down.
Now she laid to her anchor, all hands was filled with joy
Not thinking any accident to them was drawing nigh
Until the Ronald hove in sight more joyful did they feel
With flowing yards and swelling sails taking eight knots from the reel.
She was like some frightened animal, with the white foam across her face
Neither sheet nor tack now did she slack while entering in this place
Those boats they were well scattered and for her there was plenty of room
But she passed too near to the Irene’s head, and she broke off her jib boom.
He pierced the Ronald’s mainsail bout three cloths from the lee
The mainsail left the main mast, twas an awful sight to see
Those boys they were well frightened, what to do they did not know
So without their skipper’s orders their anchor they let go.
Jim Harris jumped up on the deck, fired down his cap and swore
Saying, “Such a tangle now as this I never saw before.
I’m in charge of vessels large and small and I brought them far and near
Far across the broad Atlantic where the storms do rage severe.”
Now if this was some youngster what would the people say?
For an accident can happen to the best man any day
It’s alright when the wheel is going up, but when she turns for to go down
You all might meet with the same sad fate as Jim Harris in Paradise Sound.
Lyrics transcribed from the video by Heather Sparling
I first heard this song as a recitation by Ron Walsh in Avondale when I was a boy, in the 1960s. He was from Bellview, probably resettled from Placentia Bay. It is a song about success, hubris, fate and accidental failure. The subject Greek tragedy set in NL.