The Wreck of the Union (B)

1 Ye fishermen of Newfoundland
Come listen to what I write,
‘Twas in ploughing over the salt, salt sea
In that I took delight.

2 I was once as hearty a sailor lad
As ever unfurled a sail,
But the hardest labour I ever done
Was to reef an unfurling sail.

3 ‘Twas on the fourteenth of January past
When the gale it did come on,
The elements looked angry (on us)
And the clouds o’er cast the sun.

4 You may be on shore with your pretty girls
Telling to them fond tales,
But the hardest labour that ever you done
Was to reap your own corn fields.

5 With the wind about east and be soud’ me b’ys
And also heavy showers of hail,
The night it got dark and stormy
And ’twas on a leeshore we did tail.

6 Our captain give us 9rders
And that we should obey,
Our captain he give orders
Our foresail to cut away.

7 We tried to take our foresail in
‘Twas more than we could do,
We hoisted our jib right manfully
And rounded our good ship to .

8 See how she slowly rises
Which caused all hands to say:
‘God bless our noble vessel, me b’ys
Once more she heads the sea.’

9 We tried to take that foresail in
It really couldn’t be done!
We hoisted our three-reef mainsail
Five leagues o’er the sea she runned.

10 ‘Twas early next morning
We received our greatest shock –
We saw a craft on her beam-ends
Three leagues from Mount Bernard Rock.

11 We boarded her immejitely
To get what (re)marks we could
There’s three lashed frozen to each pump
Five more in her cabin was dead.

12 See how the tiller works over them
And that most wondrous rare,
And the gooseneck marked on the head of it
Where those fishermen used to steer.

13 She is the Union from StJohn’s
‘Tis well I knows her name,
And every night when I lie on my bed
I can hear their young widows complain.

14 She is the Union from StJohn’s
Right well I knows her mould,
And when I thinks on those poor b’ys
It makes my blood run cold.

15 She’s gone, she’s gone, forever she’s gone!
I know their glass was run,
The widow must weep for her husband
And the mother her darling son.

Citation: Lehr, Genevieve. O Come and I Will Song You, p. 190-193


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