#03091
Old Polina (Paddy Gearin) video
See also: Old Polina (Gerald S Doyle)
And also: The Balena (Newfoundland Traditional)
#1734: YouTube video by gdgest
©2011 ~ Used with permission ~

There's a noble fleet of whalers sailing from Dundee,
Manned by British sailors to take them o'er the sea;
On a western ocean passage we started on our trip,
And we flew along just like a song in a gallant whaling ship.

For the wind was on her quarter, the engine running free,
There's not another whaler that sailed the Arctic Sea,
Can beat the Old Polina, you need not try, my sons,
For we challenged all both big and small from Dundee to St John's.

'Twas second Sunday morning, just after leaving port,
We met a heavy southwest gale that washed away our boat;
It washed away our quarter board, our stanchions just as well,
And soon we saw the whole shebang a-floating in the gale.

For the wind was on her quarter, the engine running free,
There's not another whaler that sailed the Arctic Sea,
Can beat the Old Polina, you need not try, my sons,
For we challenged all both big and small from Dundee to St John's.

There's the noble Terra Nova, a model without doubt,
The Arctic and Aurora they talk so much about,
The Jackman's model mail boat - the terror of the sea,
Tried to beat the Old Polina, boys, on a passage from Dundee.

For the wind was on her quarter, the engine running free,
There's not another whaler that sailed the Arctic Sea,
Can beat the Old Polina, you need not try, my sons,
For we challenged all both big and small from Dundee to St John's.

Bill Jackson set his canvas, Polina plunges brave,
Captain Guy, the daring b'y, came plunging through the stream;
And Mullins in the Husky tried to beat the blooming lot,
But to beat the Old Polina, boys, was something they could not.

For the wind was on her quarter, the engine running free,
There's not another whaler that sailed the Arctic Sea,
Can beat the Old Polina, you need not try, my sons,
For we challenged all both big and small from Dundee to St John's.

Now we're back in old St John's where rum is very cheap,
We'll drink a health to Captain Guy who brought us o'er the deep;
And a health to all our sweethearts and to our wives so fair,
Not another ship could make that trip but the Polina I declare.

For the wind was on her quarter, the engine running free,
There's not another whaler that sailed the Arctic Sea,
Can beat the Old Polina, you need not try, my sons,
For we challenged all both big and small from Dundee to St John's.

####.... Author unknown. Original Newfoundland song ....####
Published in Gerald S Doyle's Old-Time Songs And Poetry Of Newfoundland: Songs Of The People From The Days Of Our Forefathers (Third edition, pp.44-45, 1955). Also published on pp.13-14 of Songs Of Newfoundland, a complimentary booklet of lyrics to twenty-one songs distributed by the Bennett Brewing Co Ltd, of St John's, NL, with the cooperation of the Gerald S Doyle Song Book.

From Wiktionary:
Whole Shebang - everything; the entire thing.

The video above features part of a 1953 film commissioned by Joey Smallwood advocating the benefits of confederation with Canada. The film was made live and features William T (Paddy) Gearin [1936-2007] of Shea Heights, St John's, NL, who spent his summers in Renews with his uncle. The scene is on the wharf of the fish plant in Fermeuse, where Paddy is performing a variant he recorded over 25 years later (My Home In St John's, trk#12, 1979 LP engineered by Doug McClement at Comfort Sound Studios, Toronto, Ontario). ~ Thanks to Terry Hynes of Renews for this information.


See more songs by Paddy Gearin.

From Wikipedia:
Joseph Roberts "Joey" Smallwood [1900-1991] - main force that brought Newfoundland into Canadian confederation, and first Premier of Newfoundland (1949-1972).
Old Polina - a traditional Newfoundland folk song, most likely based on the ship Polynia, built in 1861, of the Dundee Seal and Whale Fishing Company fleet. The Polynia was commanded by Captain William Guy from 1883 to 1891, when it was sunk by ice in Davis Strait. This song is similar to another song called The Balaena, about another whaler. Every year, the whaling fleet would sail from Dundee, Scotland to Newfoundland, there to pick up men to hunt the whales. Since the first ships to make it to Newfoundland would be able to pick the most experienced men, it became a bit of a competition to see who could make it in the fastest time. The other ships named in the song, the Arctic, the Aurora, the Terra Nova, and the Husky, are all ships from the Dundee Seal and Whale Fishing Company fleet. The Aurora was the ship that rescued the crew of the Polynia in 1891 when it sunk. Art Jackson, Mullins, and Fairweather were a couple of the captains of the ships at that time. There are records of a Captain Fairweather in command of the Balaena (mentioned in 1894 and 1896), an Alex Fairweather in command of the Terra Nova (1885-1893), and a J Fairweather for the Aurora (1882-1886).



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