Trinity Bay Tragedy



This song was collected from Martin Hocko, Pinware, in 1960.


Ye hardy sons of Newfoundland, that tread life’s rugged way,
That know the key of many years, that now have passed away,
Draw near while I relate you an awful tragedy
That did befall our hardy sons down north at Trinity.

In eighteen hundred ninety-two, on February twenty-seven,
The morning broke with brilliant sky, that brightly shone the heavens,
The seas were smooth and tranquil, all nature seemed at rest;
In search of seals our boat soon sped upon the billows’ crest.

That morning when we left our homes and lanched (launched) out from the land,
We little apprehended what dangers were at hand
We bade good-bye to those we loved, as we ofttimes done before,
Not thinking in our eager chase we’d see those friends no more.

Now same for to go pleasantly as we skimmed o’er the bay,
Till bellows swole in frenzy wild and struck us with dismay.
Our small boats reeled to wind and sleet, whilst each man plied his oar,
With eager hopes at every stroke for to regain the shore.

Yet some they had succeeded in reaching of the land.
The sight was most appalling to see that icy hand,
Combined with frozen icicles, with gusts of wind and snow,
That fell upon those stalwart limbs and laid their victims low.

What awful sound is this we hear, comes floating o’er the lea?
It is no sound of merriment; it is no revelry!
It’s borne upon the northern blast across the stormy sea;
It is the cry for human help; it comes from Trinity.

But, alas, that help is not at hand and they are doomed to die
That awful death by freezing on cold ice-fields to lie;
No human thought can picture the anguish that they felt
Not till the vital spark had fled and life became extinct.

Next morning dawned with ghastly form and frowningly they looked down
On that awful ravages with corpses strewn around,
But yet there’s some with frozen limbs that struggled through the night,
For their life sake one effort make and landed at Heart’s Delight.

They left to tell the doleful tale, while kind friends gathered round,
And many a pitying glance was cast and silent tears flowed down;
One of those being the doctor’s son so quickly called away
In the ocean deep in the long last sleep in the unconscious sea.

The mother cried in frenzy wild, her widowed hopes are o’er,
The father of her smiling babe on earth she’ll see no more;
Bold death with its untimely grasp has taken them away,
Until the sea shall yield its dead on that great judgment day.

And may the God of mercy that died the bold to save
Extend His richest blessings to each mother and her babe,
And may they bow submissively unto His holy will,
For He is the great Omnipotent that bids the sea be still. 

Source: MacEdward Leach. Folk Ballads and Songs of the Lower Labrador Coast. p.198-199. (“Flemings of Torbay”)

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