MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Jack Timmins
Frank Knox NFLD 2 Tape 18A Track 6
St. Shott's Audio:
Ballad

My name is Jack Timmins I'm a Cape Breton Boy
All aroun' the dominion for a living strolled I
All around the dominion alone l did roam
To try and make money in this wide-open world

My age bein' scarce twenty my life to enjoy
I left my dear parents with tears in their eyes
All around the dominion alone l did roam
To try and make money in this wide-open world

The first trip I made was a trip to the ice
With a partner George Bartlett so manly and nice
We shared eighty dollars I think we did well
The rest of my hardships I'm now going to tell

I then joined a coaster a fine harbour tramp
Her crew were not nice and they often were drunk
Our drunken sea captain we'll see him no more
To save lives on rigging he ran her ashore

Said the mate to the Captain those lives for to save
We'll run under fores'l those dark bursting seas
Our cook he run forward waiting the first thump
With his feet firm and steadfast all from her to jump

Then I like a cat up the rigging did climb
The cook hauled the captain ashore on the line
When the crew were a landed and safe on the strand
I sprang from the rigging ashore on the sand

I then went to Halifax town for a run
In a decent class vessel to me that was fun
They gave me ten dollars to me that was none
And I left in that city to look for a job

While walking down Water Street with eyes sharp and keen
I saw a large steamboat anchored out in the stream
I boarded that steamboat up her side I did climb
And made my way forward her bosun to find

He spoke to me kindly he seemed of good cheer
He said you had better see the chief engineer
I agreed with that chief for both wages and work
If you have friends go see them we're bound for New York

I fired on that steamboat till I saw something best (?)
Got a letter from my brother and sailed for the west
The storms and the snow squalls you bet I didn't mind
But the darling I left in that city behind

I worked there four months in a forest of pine
Driving a four-hose team my job I liked fine
One day a sad accident happened to me
I'm not the same fellow I once used to be

I fell from my team load of logs to the ground
Half-lifeless, half-senseless it's there l was found
A log from my team load had rolled over me
And broke my right arm and left leg at the knee

The boss and choppers and workers and all
They bid me farewell as l sailed for St. Paul
To see myself carried in a room for to die
I thought on my maker far up in the sky

I lay there six months in that hospital grand
On the broad of my back oh the pain l could stand
The doctors and nurse to me did prove kind
My father and mother often came in my mind

Take a trip to______________________
Those western countries oh boys they are grand
Where the waters run freely through the excellent woodland
Take a trip to the west boys if your mind leads to roam
But you'll find when you're sick boys there's no place like home

Take a trip to the West boys before it's too late
But l hope in the future you won't share my sad fate
For l now know the sorrow of not having two feet
And l hope in the future in heaven we'Il meet


Notes


History: The singer identifies himself as a Cape Breton boy.

Text: This is a long account of Jack's travel adventures, aboard a ship that goes aground, on the Halifax run, on a steamboat to New York, later in the "West" in the lumbercamps where he suffers an accident and loses a leg.

Tune: Sung in a flexible triple time, this major key melody has four lines with no repetition (i.e., abcd form).

 

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