O Mary dear and did you hear the news I heard today?
We're only 'lowed to kill a bird up to the middle o' May
Now isn't it a cruel shame, this thing that they have done!
And so says Tom, and so says Bill, and so says everyone.
I met with Skipper Neddy, and he took me by the hand,
And he said: "Now what's the news, my boy, and how's poor Newfoundland?"
Says I, "Next summer, Neddy, we'll have to live on hawks,
For there's a bloody law agin the killin' of the bawks."
I bought a muzzleloader, a month or two ago,
And up to now I've only killed a dozen birds or so.
But by and by in May month I thought that I would shine,
And get her off at bigger lots, and knock down eught or nine.
But as I'm a law-abiding man, as you may understand,
I'll have to fire beach-rocks at the King-bireds from the land.
They're tryin' to starve an honest man who has the nerve and pluck--
For there's a bloody law agin the killin' of the duck.
Now where's the gravy comin' from, will some one tell to me,
In summer when there's nought to eat but bread and fish and tea?
The ones who made this law can sit, eat chicken, drink port wine,
But how about the poor old ghost who hauls a fishing line?
He has to watch the bawks flock 'round, upon a foggy day
And watch them rob his trawls of bait, and watch them fly away.
He's not allowed to shoot them, or some one sure will squack;
For there's a bloody law agin the killin' of a bawk.
No doubt our wise Commissioners will formulate a plan
To furnish fresh for everyone who lives in Newfoundland.
They've got a million pounds, I hear, from over 'cross the sea,
They want it all to feed the men who in the pen will be.
For Mary, dear, I like a bird in August, June or May,
And if they put me in the pen, why there I'll have to stay,
For men with children underfed would not mind being sued,
And the judge will not condemn a man for getting food.
Now when the bawks stop flying, and the noddies stay at home,
And the bosun and the puffin, no longer they do roam,
Then I will give up shooting in the good old summer time.
I'll take the breadbox, kettle, pot, and leave the gun behind.
But till that day shall come, my boys, I'm sure you will agree
That birds that fly in summer time should nourish you and me.
Now bawks have got a fishy taste, as everybody knows,
But they make a better diet, boys, than either hawks or crows.
There's many men in summer time who cannot buy salt meat,
They have to trust to seabirds for something fresh to eat.
But if they keep this law that's passed, they will not get a taste
Of bawk or noddy, tinker, turr, and not a tickleace.
So you who made this law prepare and send us all a meal
From time to time of good fresh beef, or mutton, pork or veal.
And don't forget, my bully boys, a chicken now an' then,
As yet there's neither law agin the killin' of a hen.