#01011
The Bonavist' Line (Collected by Peacock) video
See also: Shoal Harbour Line (MacEdward Leach)
And also: The North Shoremen's Line (Leach)
#672: YouTube video by kelticknots ©2007
~ Used with permission ~

As I rode out one morning in May,
To view those who laboured out on the railway;
I could see all the teardrops that fell from their eyes,
Them red foreign devils on the Bonavist' line.

I met an old man from the head of the bay,
Who spent his late summers out on the railway;
Good morning, old man, and isn't it fine,
Do you like the people on the Bonavist' line?

The old man gazed on me with fear and surprise,
I could tell by the anger that stood in his eyes;
I'll tell you about them since I have the time,
Them red foreign devils on the Bonavist' line.

To sew in a button they'll charge you five cents,
Fifty to stick up your shack by the fence;
To boil your kettle they'll charge you a dime,
And these are the rules on the Bonavist' line.

As for the molasses, Oh God, ain't it bad,
As for the pork, it would drive you mad;
As for the flour, it sure is a crime,
It would give you consumption on the Bonavist' line.

As I rode out one morning in May,
To view those who laboured out on the railway;
I could see all the teardrops that fell from their eyes,
Them red foreign devils on the Bonavist' line.
Them red foreign devils on the Bonavist' line.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a traditional Newfoundland song ....####

This variant was collected in 1952 from John Mahoney of Stock Cove, NL, by Kenneth Peacock, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.768-769, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

The video above features a variant arranged by Ryan's Fancy and televised on the Ryan's Fancy CBC television series.

See more songs by Ryan's Fancy.

A variant was collected in 1951 from John James of Trepassey, NL, and published as The North Shoremen's Line in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

MacEdward Leach also published a variant as #92, Riverhead Line, in Folk Ballads And Songs Of The Lower Labrador Coast by the National Museum of Canada (Ottawa, 1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that the Bonavista Line serving the tip of the Bonavista Peninsula and the Riverhead Line serving Conception Bay are spurs of Newfoundland's now defunct narrow-gauge trans-insular railway.

Additional notes:
The Bonavista branch of the Newfoundland narrow gauge railway was completed in 1913, and served the peninsula from 1915 through the summer of 1983. The very last run on the branch line departed Bonavista at 2:08 on November 19, 1988, with five cars and locomotive #802.


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