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We often read of heroes bold, and noble deeds they done,
Some on the field of battle, Victoria Crosses won;
The British lads and officers who walked the quarterdeck,
Oft' la'nched a lifeboat in a storm to take men from a wreck.
The hero that we speak about, his praises for to tell,
Is plucky Captain Randall, commander of the Bill;
Who put his ship about that day, to rescue he did go,
And saved the lives of twenty-five out on the northern floe.
For two long days and dreary nights these poor lads had to stand,
Caught in a blinding snow-storm, the crew of the Newfoundland;
Fatigued with hunger, thirst and cold, and no relief in sight,
When seventy-seven brave lads succumbed upon the ice that night.
On Thursday morn, with tottering steps, the few that did remain,
Made for the Bill as best they could, the ship did try to gain;
And Captain Randall from the bridge these poor lads he did sight,
Who told their sad and dismal tale how for their lives did fight.
The captain then gave up the voyage for St. John's he did steer,
To bring the dead and the dying to the ones they loved most dear;
The kindness they received on board no human tongue could tell,
Of these kind-hearted sailors and the captain of the Bill.
In after-years his name will live and hang on memory's wall,
To show their children's children the heroes of them all;
And his kind-hearted sailors their great and daring band,
Who saved the sole survivors of the steamship Newfoundland.
Collected in 1960 from Joshua Osborne of Seal Cove, White Bay, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.967-968, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.
Kenneth Peacock noted that the events described in this native ballad took place in 1914.
From other songs about ships in the spring seal hunt, GEST has concluded the Bill was actually the Bellaventure, nicknamed the Belle.