MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
The Dole Song
George Hatfield NFLD 2 Tape 2 Track 4
Tors Cove Audio:

Come all ye hardy fishermen who work hard for a bite
While toiling on the deep blue sea morning noon and night
And those that get the profit they are snuggled in the warmth
Eating up the luxuries which the fisherman have earned

The reason we poor fishermen don’t get no more fair play
Too many of those long coat chaps are travelling round today
And ask ‘em for to help you boys which make it all the worse
So if you want to try her friends you'll have to try her first

Commencing on the merchant it is hard for me to tell
The way they rob the poor man you all know very well
They'll carry away your earnings boys and you they’ll overthrow
And ask them for to help you and they'll plainly answer no

We went to see a gentleman the man that rules the dole
We asked him for white flour and he plainly answered no
We then did write a letter as you may understand
Address Sir John Hope Simpson to the ruler in Newfoundland.

We stated our conditions boys and likewise many more
About those hungry people here on the Labrador
If every man could catch a fox there would be none to greet (?)
And the way it is with custom boys they think you have fox seed

Likewise the tea and molasses that you get with your bit of toast
Next year twill be paid back again by the taxes on your cows
This year they taxed the people's dogs to pay their polish next year
To keep the buttons shining on the ___________

(Rest of last line obscured by whistle on tape)


Sources: Lehr and Best, 1977

From the Memorial University Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA) Song Index and Song Annotation Collection: Bonnell, Frederick MUNFLA 69-28; Ayre, Leslie M MUNFLA 70-5; West, Eric MUNFLA 78-236

History: Newfoundland broadside ballad.

Text: When you go on the dole the merchants take your name and "rob your earnings." This song tells of the disgruntled relationship between fishermen and merchants on the coast of Newfoundland.

Tune: In a moderate 6/8 time and a major key, the song form is ABAC.

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