#02244
The Elsie M Hart (Lehr and Best)

Come all ye hearty seamen,
come listen to my song,
It is both short and simple -
it will not delay you long;
Concerning of a schooner
that sailed from Trinity Bay,
On the eighteenth of November,
I think it was the day.

Her name it was the Elsie M Hart,
Captain March was in command.
Steven Pelley from Random Island
on her was second hand.
Her crew was composed of four men more,
their names I will not say.
She had on board some merchandise
for a port down in White Bay.

The day being dull and cloudy
and dismal looked the sky,
And coming on towards evening
the wind began to rise;
As they were off Bonavista Cape,
that place called Happy Sight,
The skipper said he would heave to,
and rest up for the night.

The snow came down in torrents,
proud Boreas did advance;
When the sleet and snow from the east did blow
to the windward you could not glance.
The sea did run mountainously
and the vessel she made leeway,
In spite of with her foresail split,
she had to run the bay.

They sot their course for Plate Cove
as near as they could go,
'Twas under the skirt of her mainsail
and part of her jumbo;
As she ran o'er the Western Shores
they thought they were no more,
At two o'clock next morning
the vessel ran on shore.

Just imagine those poor seamen
upon an unknown strand,
It being so dark and stormy
they did not know the land.
At daybreak there that morning,
to their surprise and joy,
They saw by their surroundings,
some livyers they were nigh.

The captain and another man
got landed safe on shore,
At that place called Hurra Point [sic]
where the angry billows roar;
Up hills and through the forest
with difficulty roamed,
And early there that morning
they broke out at Plate Cove.

They related their sad story
and they received a helping hand.
People rushed onto the shores
to assist the other men.
And now they're landed safe on shore,
I know they won't complain,
May the Lord assist those seamen
that ploughs the raging main.

####.... Michael Francis (Mick) Keough [1873-1962] of Plate Cove, NL, ca.1935 ....####
Collected by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best in 1976 from Benedict Keough [1917-1994] of Plate Cove, NL, and published as #33 in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.57-58, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press © 1985/2003).

Genevieve Lehr noted that this shipwreck took place on November 18, 1935, close to the community of Plate Cove, Bonavista Bay. The Elsie M Hart was en route to Port aux Choix from Trinity Bay with a load of freight when she ran ashore. Lehr further noted that the crew were hospitably treated by the people of Plate Cove, and Mr Michael Francis (Mick) Keough [1873-1962] of Plate Cove, NL, composed this song about the event. Genevieve Lehr recorded the song from his son, Mr Benedict Keough of Plate Cove, NL.

An article in the Daily News dated November 18, 1935, reported the "Schooner Elsie M Hart, owned by Hayward Burt of Lady Cove, went ashore during storm at Plate Cove," as transcribed by John Baird and Sue O'Neill in NLGENWeb Newspaper Transcriptions.

From the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:
Livyer - permanent settler of coastal Newfoundland (as opposed to migratory fisherman from England).

From The Free Dictionary:
Boreas - (Greek mythology) god who personified the north wind; Boreas was pictured as bearded and powerful and winged and draped against the cold.
Strand - poetic term for a beach or shore (as the area periodically covered and uncovered by the tides).

From Schooner Vocabulary:
Jumbo - larger of the headsails.

GEST notes that the word 'sot' appears several times in the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English, usually within quotations which serve as examples of usage for defined words. The word itself is obscurely defined on page two of the Introduction to the Dictionary. It is used in this song is the past tense of the verb 'set' spoken with a Newfoundland dialect.


See more songs about shipwrecks of NFLD.


line

Index Page
GEST Songs Of Newfoundland And Labrador



line

~ Copyright Info ~

~ Privacy Policy ~

Confirm Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Here