#01581
The Murder Of Dennis Somers (Kenneth Peacock)

You people of distinction,
Of every rank and nation,
All for your information,
The truth you soon shall hear.
'Twas of a murder barbarously,
It happened in a small city;
'Twill make you fill with pity
When the truth to you appear.

Oh, when the news it did come in
Sebastopol it was taken;
St John's was illuminated
In all parts of the town.
At Grave's Gate the row began,
At ten o'clock the quarrel end,
And in the middle of the ring
This youth he did appear.

He scarce had time to raise his hand
When a knife into his fair form ran,
He scarce had time to say amen
When his life from him did part.
Oh, he was murdered barbarously,
His heart was split in pieces three,
And he who shed his blood so free
Must wash his sins away.

Oh, criminal, how can you rest
With woeful murder on your breast?
No matter what you do confess
You're stained in human gore.
Oh, if your heart was hard as steel
'Tis for that family you would feel,
When the corpse of Dennis Somers
To his sister's house appeared.

Oh, that was nothing to the day
When he was buried in the clay,
Now weeping over him to say,
Now quickly you shall hear.
Brothers and sisters, friends likewise,
Dry up those tears from your eyes,
And weep no more for him that lies
A-mouldering in the clay.

####.... Author unknown. Original Newfoundland ballad ....####

Collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1958 from Isaac Freeman Bennett [1896-1981] of St Paul's, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.823-824, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted it is usually difficult to date ballads unless of course, the date is given in the text of the song. This native ballad, however, apparently was composed just after the celebrations in St John's following the fall of Sebastopol in 1855. Dennis Somers was supposed to have been killed accidentally when he stepped into a riotous group to stop the quarreling.

A small fragment was also published as Murder Of Young Somers in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland, #153, by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1933; Folklore Associates, Hatboro, Pennsylvania, 1968).


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