#03283
Hunting Seals (Gerald S Doyle)
Seal Hunting Song (James Murphy)

With knife and fork, with kettle and pan,
With spoon and mug, and glasses
To shield our eyes from glaring sun,
And we take our tea with lasses.

For we are swoilers, fearless, bold,
As we copy from pan to pan, sir;
With pelts astern we shipward go -
Nor yield to many man, sir.

With sheath and steel strapped to our waist,
With a stocking filled with bread, sir,
We leave the side, away to stride
O'er the ice-fields without dread, sir.

For we are swoilers, fearless, bold,
As we copy from pan to pan, sir;
With pelts astern we shipward go -
Nor yield to many man, sir.

With bat and gaff and panning staff
Surmounted with a flag, sir;
Away we go on the great ice-floe,
And we never care to lag, sir.

For we are swoilers, fearless, bold,
As we copy from pan to pan, sir;
With pelts astern we shipward go -
Nor yield to many man, sir.

Sometimes a polar bear we'll meet,
But of them we are as chary
As of the maid we left behind,
Who this year we'll ask to marry.

For we are swoilers, fearless, bold,
As we copy from pan to pan, sir;
With pelts astern we shipward go -
Nor yield to many man, sir.

Of bedlamers we often take,
Their pelts being quite as good, sir,
As any swoils in yield of oil,
Be he dog harp or hood, sir.

For we are swoilers, fearless, bold,
As we copy from pan to pan, sir;
With pelts astern we shipward go -
Nor yield to many man, sir.

Again a whitecoat we will get,
To make the girls a muff, sir;
If she turns up her pretty nose -
The taxidermist - he'll stuff, sir.

For we are swoilers, fearless, bold,
As we copy from pan to pan, sir;
With pelts astern we shipward go -
Nor yield to many man, sir.

And when we've loaded hold and deck
With pelts and plenty flippers,
We leave the floe and homeward go
To met[sic] delighted skippers.

For we are swoilers, fearless, bold,
As we copy from pan to pan, sir;
With pelts astern we shipward go -
Nor yield to many man, sir.

####.... Author unknown. Original Newfoundland song ....####
This variant published by Gerald S Doyle in Old-Time Songs And Poetry Of Newfoundland: Songs Of The People From The Days Of Our Forefathers , First edition, p.39, 1927.

Also printed as Seal Hunting Song in St John's in 1905 on pp.21-22 of Murphy's Sealers' Song Book and in 1925 on pp.14-15 of Songs Sung By Old Time Sealers Of Many Years Ago, both published by James Murphy [1867-1931].

James Murphy's Publisher's Notes:
This song depicts the methods adopted and the garb in which the hardy sealers of Newfoundland are robed whilst treading the ice floe of the north in quest of seals.

From Dictionary.com: Chary - cautious, careful or wary.

From the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English:
Bat - to kill or stun a seal by striking with a club; to gaff.
Bedlamer; also beddamer, bedlemer, bedlimmer, bellamer - said to be corrupted from the French Bete de la mer (beast of the sea); immature or juvenile harp seal about two to five years old (approaching breeding age) with a spotted coat.
Copy - ² to jump across loose or floating ice while pursuing seals on the ice-floes.
Dog Hood - very dangerous, breeding-age, male hood seal.
Flipper - fore-limb of a seal, used to propel the animal in the water or on the ice; especially as prepared for eating.
Gaff - to kill or stun a seal with a blow from the sealer's iron-shod club or gaff; to bat.
Lasses; also molasses, lassy, molassy - thick, dark or light brown syrup produced in the manufacture of sugar.
Pan - ² piece of flat ice, varying in size and shape but roughly circular.
Panning Staff - stout stick on which a flag is placed to mark a pile of seal pelts on the ice for collection by a sealing vessel.
Swoil; also seal, sile, soil, swale, swile, swoile - any of the North Atlantic hair seals (family Phocidae) taken for the skin, used as leather, and the fat, rendered as oil; especially the harp seal (Phoca groenlandica) and the hooded seal (Cystophora cristata).
Swoiler; also sealer, siler, soiler, swiler - ¹ one engaged to hunt seals from a vessel in the ice-floes off Newfoundland and Labrador or in the Gulf of St Lawrence; ² vessel engaged in hunting seals in the ice-floes.
Whitecoat - young harp seal with white fur, soon shed, hunted for its blubber.



line

Index Page
GEST Songs Of Newfoundland And Labrador



line

~ Copyright Info ~

~ Privacy Policy ~

Confirm Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Here