MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
The Wreck of The Tolesby
John Bulger NFLD 2 Tape 3A Track 2
Trepassey Audio:

Male voice (speaks): Trouble recording a song like that, isn't it?
Leach: You're starting off on the beginning, eh?
Male voice: Oh, yes.
Leach: Okay, I'll hold it for you. You don't have to bother.
Bulger (sings):

We left Galveston, Texas in December safe and sound
With a heavy load of cotton to a port in France was bound
Her voyage it was unevil, till our course we tried to trace
All in a blinding snowstorm, when making for Cape Race.

It was on Monday afternoon, this storm it did appear
On the thirteenth day of January, to you I’ll make it clear
When suddenly she struck the rocks where ships had struck before
Some distance from Freshwater Point, near little Seals Cove Shore.

With twenty-seven souls on board, which did compose the crew,
They lowered the boat, when Capt. Paine gave orders for to do
Like matchwood they were smashed in piece by heavy seas on rock
Which those poor, fatal, shipwrecked crew by striking on the rock.

They jumped into the seething surf and swam towards the beach
Which, thanks unto kind providence, they all did safely reach
And with ___________ from the ship that lived amidst the storm
A fire upon the rocky beach that night to keep them warm.

They won't forget that awful night, when they had reached the shore
With frowning cliffs around them and the ocean made a roar
With frost and sleet beneath their feet, their faces blind with spray
Shipwrecked at Little Seal's Cove, up in Trepassey Bay.

At ten o'clock next morning, some fishermen __________ _______
And on that awful steep cliff they chanced to cast a look
They saw The Tolesby’s shipwrecked crew five hundred feet below
While brave Joe Parry volunteered that to them they would go.

This gallant, young fisherman that did this deed so bold
His name it should be handed down in letters of bright gold
None but a noble fisherman this danger would have faced
As they lowered him o'er the hillside with a rope tied round his waist.

And now among the shipwrecked crew directly he did stand
With a dozen fishermen about with strong and willing hands
Around the waist of twenty-two this hempen rope he tied
And one by one they were pulled up that rugged, steep hillside.

Oh, tell not me of other lands where courage has been shown
Have we not got the men to do _______ they sing our own
Where would you find a braver man then those upon that day
Who saved The Tolesby shipwreck crew up in Trepassey Bay?


History: Newfoundland shipwreck ballad.

Text: Tells of the wreck of the "Tolesby" off the coast of Freshwater Point near Little Seals Cove Shore.   Twenty-seven crew members swam to Trepassey Bay and all were saved.  

Tune: A slow, lilting tune in 6/8 time with some rhythmic flexibility.   The form is a classic arch-shaped ABBA tune with the 'b' phrases set to a commonly higher range.   The scale is major.

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