MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada

Gigantic

John James NFLD 2 Tape 10 Track 9
Trepassey Audio:
Ballad

It been on October the twenty-second as you may understand
They were six of us made up our minds to sail from Newfoundland
With a load of Codfish stowed in bulk rough weather we did find
As we left Harbour Buffet leaving Newfoundland behind

Oh we left Harbour Buffet I’m sure all hands inclined
The wind sprung up about East Nort'east we had a splendid time
In under a foresail and two jibs Red Island we did round
Sailing out through Placentia Bay for Opporto we were bound

On eight o'clock on that same night the light it did appear
Cape St. Mary' s on a beam Southeast from us did bear
We ran her out around the cape our sails and sheets we bound
We steered across about South by East expecting to bear down

On three o'clock next morning, Cape Pine it did appear
The light it bore about East Northeast as South by East we steered
We sot our staysails to the masts and that was done quite rare
We changed the watch at six o'clock the time she struck four bells

We sot the log at ten o'clock and slacked it back astern
And ran her off across the sea til’ early the next morn
We pulled the log at eleven o'clock the course was giving ten
Eighty-one was on the log we swung her off again

Southeast by East was our main course but South by East she lay
Owing to the weather and according to the sea
Our Captain says to haul her in Southeast by East to bear
Running off Sout'east by East the gale it did come on

Our Captain says all hands on deck and that before too long
We low'rd our staysails from the mast four of our jolly crew
Reefed foresail and reefed stormsail we hove our vessel to

It been on October the twenty fourth as you may understand
We shortened sail and hove 'er to three hundred miles from land
That night was dark and dreary a hard time we did spend
A sea rolled down on our lifeboat split her from end to end

The twenty-eight hours that we lay to in the western of Gulf streams
The wind and sea it was sent forth the like was seldom seen
Four sailor b’ys to stand on deck that night and livelong day
At six o'clock on Saturday we ran before the sea

From eight to twelve we did go 'round de lanyards we would view
That is a job that must be done when the vessel is hove to
To serve our lives and keep her pumped as you may understand
Two hundred jobs we did in an hour far off from Newfoundland

On the last day of October we hove her to again
In under a two-reefed foresail a hard old time to spend
With a knot all in our stormsail and a reef put in likewise
To stand our watch that Iivelong night with salt-water in our eyes

From eight to twelve our watch came on as you may plainly see
It would join your tears to weep that night to look upon the sea
To watch those seas were roaring down we could do nothing more
We hove her to on Thursday morn far off from foreign shore

It been on the sixteenth morning there were no sign of land
Cheer up my boys wash out your eyes and on the deck we'll stand
A sharp lookout for submarines and a perfect course to steer
At six that night we saw a light Opporto did appear

Now the storm is over it's coming to an end
We'll never forget the thirty-first the hard time we did spend
Down in the North Atlantic those raging storms to fight
And us poor b'ys we'll never forget the sea bore down that night

Next morning we lay by the cabin a whistle we did hear
We took the tug made fast our line for land sure we did steer
The twenty-three days we’re out at sea out on the ocean deep
We pulled her sails and washed her down to have a nap of sleep

Twas five mile up the river our load we did discharge
Half of our fish was small and the other half was large
We took on board our load of salt all on Santonia's strand(?)
And in good health us sailors were bound home for Newfoundland

Six men composed the schooner’s crew their names I will pen down
There's Captain Thomas Edwin from Catalina town
William Edgecome was our mate, a smart young youth command
William Best from Placentia Bay hailing from Meerasheen

Wilson Hollet was our cook from Buffet do belong
And Thomas Whiffen (?) from the Rams I’ll have him in my song
William Barry from Port Royal made up the vessel's crew
They shipped aboard "Gigantic" to cross the ocean blue

Last line spoken


Notes


Text: Six men sailed from Harbour Buffet to Opporto, Portugal to sell cod. The song text traces their journey, encounters with a storm, and successful arrival. The final verses name the members of the crew and their respective hometowns.

Tune: Through composed text with repeated melody. The last few words are spoken. Speaking, instead of singing a final word or phrase is generally thought to indicate Irish influence on the singer or song. The meter is 12/8. The tune is in Mixolydian mode starting on B, this is characterized by a flattened seventh tone.

All material on this webpage is copyright © 2004, Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive, Memorial University of Newfoundland. No unauthorized copying or use is permitted. For more information, follow this link.