The Flemings Of Torbay (Johnny Burke) score, MIDI

See also: The Flemmings Of Torbay (James Murphy)

And also: The Fishermen Of Newfoundland (Johnny Burke)
(The Good Ship Jublilee)

sheet music

midi file   alt: midi file

The thrilling news we heard last week is in our memories yet,
Two fishermen from Newfoundland saved from the jaws of death;
Two fine young men born in Torbay who went adrift at sea,
On the eighteenth day of April from the schooner Jubilee.

They left to prosecute their voyage near the Grand Banks' stormy shore,
Where many's the hardy fisherman was never heard of more;
For six long days in storms at sea, those hardy fellows stood,
Fatigued, footsore, and hungry, no water or no food.

Tossed on the seas all those long days while bitter was each night,
No friend to speak a kindly word, no sail to heave in sight;
At last a vessel hove in sight and saw the floating speck,
The Jessie Maurice was her name, coal laden from Quebec.

Our wheelsman, well-trained, he espied clear through the misty haze,
Those poor exhausted fishermen adrift so many days;
Our captain, a kindhearted man, had just come on the deck,
Then orders gave to hard aport and shaped her for the wreck.

Two hours or more while the winds did roar the Jessie sailed around,
To see if any tidings of the dory could be found;
The crew was stationed on the bow all anxious her to hail,
When the captain spied her in the fog just aft the water rail.

Our brave commander right away the order gave to launch,
The jolly boats that hung astern of good old oak so staunch;
Two brave old seamen manned the oars and at the word to go,
The captain standing in the bow to take the boat in tow.

The captain gripped the painter for to bring her to the barque,
While those on board were still as death, their features cold and dark;
A sling was then made fast below in which those men to place,
While tender-hearted mariners they worked with noble faith.

No sign of life was in those men as they were placed in bed,
But still our captain held out hope the vital spark not fled;
He watched for days and sleepless nights to bring those men around,
And on the second day discerned but just a feeble sound.

The first to speak was Peter, the eldest of the two,
He told the captain who they were, a part of the Jubilee's crew;
And how in April on the Banks they chanced to drift astray,
And lay exposed in an open boat for six long stormy days.

Our captain then our stuns'l set and shaped her for Quebec,
He took on board the dory and all left of the wreck;
He watched those men with a mother's care while in their berth they lay,
And saved the lives of two poor boys once more to see Torbay.

God bless the Jessie's gallant crew, likewise their captain bold,
Their names should be recorded into letters of bright gold;
And send them peace and happiness in every port they lay,
The plucky boys that saved the life of the Flemings of Torbay.

####.... Johnny Burke of St John's, NL [1851-1930] published in a 1940 broadside [Laws D23] Native American Balladry (G Malcolm Laws, 1950/1964) ....####
See more songs by Johnny Burke.

Collected from a recitation by Charles Dawe [1875-1957] of Flatrock, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada ©2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

Two variants were also collected by Kenneth Peacock, one in 1952 from Gordon Willis [1911-2001] of St John's, NL, and another in 1959 from George William Decker [1878-1962] of Rocky Harbour, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.912-915, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A variant was also collected in 1950 from Gordon Connely of Glen Haven by Helen Creighton [1899-1989] and published in Maritime Folk Songs, (Ryerson Press, Toronto, 1962).

An early variant was sung in 1920 by Daniel W Endacott [1875-1940] of Sally's Cove, NL, and published as #141 on pp.285-287 as The Fishermen Of Newfoundland or The Good Ship Jublilee in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland, by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1933; Folklore Associates, Hatboro, PA, 1968).

Also printed as The Fishermen Of Newfoundland (The Good Ship Jubilee) and published on pp.50-51 of Old Time Songs And Poetry Of Newfoundland, second edition, 1940, printed by the publishers of The Family Fireside for Gerald S Doyle, St John's.

A variant was printed in St John's in 1905 as The Flemmings Of Torbay on pp.14-16 of Murphy's Sealers' Song Book published by James Murphy [1867-1931].

Note: The Halifax Evening Mercury reported this event on May 31, 1888. The legs of both men were amputated in Quebec.

Additional notes excerpted from Off The Banks, Tales Of Heroism, Suffering And Peril by Patrick McGrath published in Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly and on page 2 in Issue 7872 of the newspaper, The Star, Christchurch, New Zealand, 28 November, 1903:
The trawler Jubilee left St John's on April 10, 1888. Peter Fleming was 43 years old with 9 years experience in bank fishing. Edward was 37 and on his first trip to the banks. Eight days later, while Peter and Edward were at the trawl, a sudden fog shut out the vessel. They were rescued by the barque Jessie Morris, built in 1872 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, under command of Captain Farley[sic]. It was laden with coal for Quebec from North Shields, a town on the north bank of the River Tyne, in the metropolitan borough of North Tyneside, in North East England. On June 1, the Fleming brothers had both feet amputated some inches above the ankle at the Marine Hospital in Quebec. Public subscription was set to provide them with artificial limbs, and they both became farmers after their ordeal.


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