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Come all ye jolly fishermen and listen unto me,
Till I sing about three baymen that had to go to sea;
Their names I will not mention now for a little while,
And when you hear my little song 'twill cause you for to smile.
The first of June came 'round, my boys, the time for fishing came,
They got a man from Calvert, Mike Bolin was his name;
He was a fine fisherman for fish or cutting hay,
He cut the rabbit meadow in less than half a day.
The skipper got his hardy crew, down to the store he went,
To put the engine in a boat, sure that was their intent;
In coming down the bridge, sure the barrow gave a crack,
Says Bolin to the skipper, "I will take it on my back."
With their caulking irons ready, sure they went to work next day,
They caulked her and they pinched her, I'm sure they knew the way;
And when they had her ready, boys, as ye may understand,
They put their fishing gear aboard and shoved her from the land.
Their little boat was leaky and on her they could not gain,
Says Bolin to the skipper, "This is labour on the brain."
They put their little boat ashore and worked with might and main,
And soon they had her ready and shoved her out again.
The first day on the hand line the skipper he done fine,
He landed over fifty ton and Bolin twenty-nine;
The skipper said unto his men, "We'll keep our fish apart,
For hauling in those big ones is going to my heart."
One day out on the fishing ground there was a heavy swell,
And Tom lay down upon the hatch, he wasn't feeling well;
The skipper in the afternoon he was lying flat,
And Bolin on the cutty, like a cat upon a mat.
The skipper he awoke and he called his hardy crew,
"Come on, me b'ys, we will go out, perhaps we'll get a few."
But to their sad misfortune no fish was to be found,
And five o'clock in the evening they were on the solid ground.
One day out on the jigging ground, as they ran short of gas,
They tried to land in Burnett Cove but the sea was running fast;
There were no fishing boats in sight, no one to give a tow,
They looked at one another saying, there's nothing left but row.
They got their oars across her and rowed with all their might,
To see them coming around Burnett it was a funny sight;
And when they landed on the beach, sweat rolled down their face,
Saying, an hour and twenty minutes from Burnett jigging place.
And now my song is ended, it's late up in the year,
For sculpins and for dogfish, I'm sure they got their share;
And if you want to know, my boys, who composed this song,
It's Tom Ghaney from Freshwater, himself and his son John.
Collected in 1951 from John Conway of St. Shott's, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).
From the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:
Sculpin - scavenger fish (Myoxoxephalus octodecemsplinosus; M. scorpius); Pig-Fish, Plug-Eye.