#01186
Shoal Harbour Line (MacEdward Leach)
See also: The North Shoremen's Line (Leach)
And also: The Bonavist' Line (Kenneth Peacock)

Sure as I went a-walking one morning in May,
A-viewing those workers down on the railway;
Beneath my feet where the water do flow,
All things looked pleasant wherever I go.

I met an old man from the head of the bay,
Who spent twenty summers down on the railway;
"Good morning, oh skipper, and don't you look fine,
And how do you like the work on the Shoal Harbour Line?"

The old man he gazed on me with saddened surprise,
I then saw the anger that came in his eyes;
"I think you're a bayman and don't you look fine,
How do you like the work on the Shoal Harbour Line?

"You'll go to the grocery provisions to buy,
Old Parsons looks on you, he then winks his eyes;
I think you're a bayman and don't you look fine,
I'll give you a tip on the Shoal Harbour Line.

"You'll go to the dairy some milk for to buy,
They'll tell you it's the richest that comes from our cow;
But it's only salt water they mix up so fine,
And they sell it for milk on the Shoal Harbour Line.

"Sure it is for the molasses, my God, it is bad,
Sure it is for the fatback, it would drive you mad;
Sure it is for the flour, it's only slaked lime,
And t'would give you beriberi on the Shoal Harbour Line.

"To boil you a kettle they'll charge you ten cents,
And fifty to stick up a camp by the fence;
To sew on a button they'll charge you a dime,
Sure that is the rule on the Shoal Harbour Line."

Sure now I'll go home to the head of the bay,
No more from old colliers no more will I stray;
I'll sit myself down with sweet Anna Devine,
And I'll tell her the rules on the Shoal Harbour Line.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of an original Newfoundland ballad ....####

Sung by Bernard Houlihan [b.1923] of Flatrock, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

Note: Shoal Harbour is between Clarenville and Port Blandford. It was the connecting point for the branch line on the Bonavista Peninsula.


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