The Maggie (Coll. by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best) w/lyrics
(Loss Of The Maggie And 13 Souls In St. John's Harbour)
Ye fishermen who know so well the dangers of the deep,
Come listen to a dreadful tale and join your tears to weep,
The loss of the schooner Maggie and thirteen precious lives,
Which leaves so many homes bereaved of husbands, sons, and wives.
At ten forenoon, November fifth, the Maggie sailed away,
From happy homes near Brooklyn in Bonavista Bay.
Light winds did waft her on her course, light-hearted was her crew;
That Friday evening off the narrows the city came in view.
Our hopes runned high, our hearts feeled glad we soon should reach the shore
And turn to cash the fruits of toils upon the Labrador.
The city lights they seemed to greet and welcome us to town,
When Captain Blundon cried: 'My boys, there's a steamer bearing down.'
Straight unrelenting monster fierce she seeked her prey to get;
She bore straight on us but we hoped her course would alter yet.
We shouted loud in wild despair, at late an awful crash;
Next moment o'er our shattered craft the angry waves did dash.
The scene that followed then, oh God, 'tis branded on my brain;
O rather would I join the drowned than witness it again.
When shrieks heart-rending pierced the air, a desperate fight for life;
A brother saw a brother drown, a husband saw a wife.
Of twenty-three who left their homes upon that fatal morn,
Thirteen of them are hushed in death and never can return.
The name of the steamer Tiber will fall in days to come,
On the ears of the Brooklyn people like the sound of a funeral drum.
####.... Author unknown. Original Newfoundland song ....####
Collected in 1976 from Moses Harris of Lethbridge, NL, by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best and published as #70 in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.122-123, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press © 1985/2003).
Genevieve Lehr noted that the schooner Maggie, Captain Blundon in command, left Brooklyn, Bonavista Bay, on a passage to St. John's in 1896. She was cut down in St. John's Narrows on 5 November by the S.S. Tiber. Thirteen out of twenty-three on board lost their lives.
A very similar variant was printed in 1905 as Loss Of The Maggie And 13 Souls In St. John's Harbour on pp.3-5 of Murphy's Sealers' Song Book published by James Murphy [1867-1931] in St. John's.
MacEdward Leach also collected a variant in 1960 published as #80, The Wreck of The Maggie, in Folk Ballads And Songs Of The Lower Labrador Coast by the National Museum of Canada (Ottawa, 1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.
A variant was also published as The Wreck Of The Maggie, by Shannon Ryan and Larry Small in Haulin' Rope & Gaff: Songs And Poetry In The History Of The Newfoundland Seal Fishery, pp.42-43 (Breakwater Books Limited, St. John's, NL, 1978).
According to the Northern Shipwrecks DataBase - The Maggie sank November 7, 1896, after colliding with the Tiber in St John's Harbour.
Note: A quick look at a calendar for 1896 reveals it was a Thursday when the Maggie left "at ten forenoon, November fifth." Therefore, November sixth was "that Friday evening off the narrows the city came in view." The lights of the city of St. John's were on so it was already after dark when Captain Blundon cried: "My boys, there's a steamer bearing down." The Northern Shipwrecks DataBase would then be correct in recording that "the Maggie sank November 7, 1896," which logically could have been anywhere from three to 27 hours after the actual collision. ~GEST
See more songs about Newfoundland and Labrador shipwrecks.