Hero of '48
In 1998, this poem was recorded as the song "Don't Vote Confederation." It was sung by Jean Hewson on the album We Will Remain: Patriotic Songs of Newfoundland, released by SingSong Inc. of St. John's, NL.
(Reproduced by permission of SingSong Inc.)
A Fisher Boy was leaving, and going to Labrador
Fishing the same old Trap berth, where his father fished before
And as he was leaving his mother, while standing on the quay,
He threw his arms around her neck, and this to her did say.
Don't vote Confederation, and that's my prayer to you,
We own the House we live in, likewise the schooner too;
But if you heed Joe Smallwood, and his line of French Patois
(pronounced pat waw),
You'll be always paying taxes, to the men in Ottawa.
But if you heed my warning, when we come sailing home
We'll be loaded to the scuppers, and I'll have no need to roam
I'll buy a new accordeon, and we will dance all night
And the Guy who mentions Canada, he sure will have to fight.
From Blanc Sablon to Chidley, is owned by Newfoundland
The Rivers, Bays and Coastline back to the height of land,
We won it in a law suit from Quebec years ago
But now they hope to get it back with the tricks of Schemer Joe.
Oh mother, dearest mother, God guard our fishing room.
It is the best one on the coast from Hebron to Quirpon,
But if Confederation should win on polling day,
The Ghost of Uncle George will rise, and this to you will say:
We want no French Canadians, and what we have we'll hold
It has given us a living, and it's something more than gold;
I thought the French Shore question was settled years ago,
But like the cat that has nine lives it lives in Schemer Joe.
There'd be Frenchmen in their Galleons, and Frenchmen in their Sloops,
There'd be Frenchmen in their Batteaus, all wearing wooden boots;
They'd be full of false politeness, as they'd take our choicest berths,
They'd fly their flag the Fleur de Lis (Pronounced Flare de lee),
Oh, Mother, that's what hurts.
The Winsors, and the Barbours, the Blackwoods and the Keans,
The Sampsons and the Murphys, the Roberts's and Paynes,
Will all turn over in their graves, if Smallwood wins the day,
Cape Ann's will be forbidden - and we'll wear a French beret.
We're a Scotch and English mixture, and the fighting Irish breeds
We live in peace and harmony, and help each other's needs
We like our Brewis and Flippers, and a scattered time a Turr,
And we don't want any Frenchmen, with their talk of Mal de mer.
So, mother, dearest mother, don't let them win you over
On polling day just mark your X for dear old Terra Nova;
Tell Sarah Jane, Fish or no fish, I'll have her in the Fall,
And Joey's baby bonus in-ter-ests me, not at all.
Our life has not been easy, and our fight was hard and long,
But IF we have faith in ourselves, we'll carry right along:
We want no strangers in our crew, let us be on our way,
And mark your X RESPONSIBLE when comes the polling day.
Our skies above look brighter, our paper mills now hum
There's iron ore on the Labrador, enough till Kingdom Come;
The [?] she wants our fish, the long dark night is o'er,
So don't surrender Newfoundland, likewise the Labrador.
Now mother, dearest mother, we are Newfoundlanders true,
Our ship is sound from stem to stern, and we can get the crew;
So keep the old flag flying, and keep her off the land,
As loved our Fathers, so we love, God Guard thee, Newfoundland!
From "Hero of '48," The Independent, 5 April 1948, p. 6.
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