MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada

Two Vessels Lost At Cape St. Mary’s

Mr. Fitzgerald NFLD 2 Tape 15A Track 3
Renews Audio:

Come all ye hardy fishermen l hope you will attend
And listen unto those few lines that l am going to pen
They are concerning dangers that we poor seamen stand
While sailing by those stormy shores on the coasts of Newfoundland

It happened to be in September the date l cannot give
When everything 'at was on the sea, it found it hard to live
Boats and schooners _______ and likewise brigantine
All on the coast of Newfoundland the like was seldom seen

'Twas many of our fishermen was caught out in that gale
Twas many of the bravest hearts their courage for to fail
Two skippers in particular their names l will give forth
There was Boyles Murphy from the rams and Tom Hann from Petit Forte

Those boats lay off St. Mary's Banks when the storm began to rise
They quickly got in under way to save their precious lives
In under close-reefed canvas to run before the sea
The first landfall l b'lieve Tom saw was the point of Golden Bay

Drawing handier to the land the fog it bein' quite thick
The wind and tide all on both sides have in a heavy kick
Tom hoist his double reefed mainsail peak to clear around the cape
That was the only chance he had from danger to escape

But we hear he hadn't it up very long when he had to lower it down
The wind it took him on the veer before he clued in around
And after he cleared in around there was a dreadful shock
A heavy sea broke over her they thinks ‘twas Reilly’s rock

For a quarter of an hour the seas like mountains hove
Those poor b'ys gave up their lives also their friends at home
The people watching from the land they gave their eyes all round
That they could not behold that day their dear friends sinking down

But when the sea was cleared away the boat was to be seen
Men and women went on their knees most humbly to pray
The priest he read a rosary it was heard with open ears
And the blessed Virgin rose her hand and brought Her children tears

Now Boyles Murphy he made low and also rather late
In under two reefed foresail he was forced to bear away
And run her for Nort' Harbour down in St. Mary's Bay

Now Peter Murphy he took charge they told him best to steer
Tis for their compass it was bad and the morning was not clear
This poor fellow hadn't her long when dismal was his doom
When a heavy sea broke over her and swept him to his doom

He tried his best to sail her when he saw the sea behind
And Bruce he ran to help him not thinking he would go
When broke the sea swept him away in fathoms down below

Now ain't this a dreadful sight to see those two men drown
We could not get to save them for our boat was sinking down
Our boat was overpowered by sea and seldom __________
So we had to go and leave our friends in a wild and a watery grave


Text: Relates the sinking of the ships of Tom Hann and Boyles Murphey on the Cape St. Mary's. As there was nothing they could do, friends were forced to watch from the shore as their friends drowned.

Tune: The text is through composed and the melody repeats with each verse. The last half line is 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 key is B-flat major.

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