“Sable Island Song (I)”


"On the stormy western ocean ... Lies a barren little island." The singer signs to be government caretaker, wear government clothes, chase "crazy horses" and "wild cattle," swallow inedible food: "Get off Sable Island Or you'll be crazy in a year"

Supplemental text

Sable Island Song (I)
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From Helen Creighton, Songs and Ballads from Nova Scotia, #142, pp. 310-311.
Sung by Albert Whare.

On the stormy western ocean,
  Just eighty miles from land,
Lies a barren little island
  Composed of grass and sand.

I signed the government articles
  To say down there a year
To take care of government property
  The government clothes to wear.

(7 additional stanzas)


Creighton-NovaScotia: "The author of this song is said to be one of the sons of the well-to-do in Halifax who was sent to Sable Island ... to be cured of his fondness for the cup."

Sable Island, Nova Scotia, about 23 miles long, is about 110 miles, at its nearest point, from the Nova Scotia coast.

Blondahl03 has no liner notes confirming that this song was collected in Newfoundland. Barring another report for Newfoundland I do not assume it has been found there. There is no entry for "Sable Island" in _Newfoundland Songs and Ballads in Print 1842-1974 A Title and First-Line Index_ by Paul Mercer. - BS

The song in its current form, based on the information in Creighton, must be dated to 1904 or after, when Gordeau Park was founded. - (RBW, BS)


  • Omar Blondahl, "Sable Island" (on NFOBlondahl03)


  1. Creighton-NovaScotia 142, "Sable Island Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. ST RcSabIsl (Partial)
  3. Roud #1838
  4. BI, RcSabIsl


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1932 (Creighton - Nova Scotia)
Keywords: work food ordeal animal
Found in: Canada(Mar)