All pious hearted Christians,
Please harken unto me,
And hear of forty-eight poor men
Who lost their lives at sea.
Who leave in grief heart broken wives,
While orphan children cry,
And poor old mothers bent with age
The loss of her dear boy.
The Greenland sailed the ten of March,
With all the sealing fleet,
And Captain Barbour in command,
A steamboat few could beat.
Assembled on her barricade,
The sealers bright and gay,
With ringing cheers that rent the air,
As she sailed out that day.
She turns the heads at eight 0′clock,
And disappears from view
While fervent prayers for safe return,
Is offered for that crew.
On St. Patrick’s Day they strike the seals,
The first boat in the fat,
When thirteen thousand prime young harps,
Fall from the sealer’s bat.
But on the twenty-first of March,
A snow storm did arise,
That proved a hard and trying time,
On those poor sealer boys.
For on the ice that cold March night,
Exposed to cold they stay,
While many poor fellows did succumb,
Before the dawn of day.
When forty-eight poor Christian souls,
Hard for their lives did fight,
From cold and hardship could not stand,
That fearful cold March night.
In light of glory they may see
It is the prayer of all,
Like martyrs suffered for their sins,
Who died at duty’s call.
Source: Ryan & Small, Haulin’ Rope & Gaff: Songs and Poetry in the History of the Newfoundland Seal Fishery (1978)