“The John Martin”


"Come all ye jolly fishermen a-going to the ice, Beware of the John Martin and don't go in her twice." Skipper Nick Ash is cruel; he throws the singer's teapot overboard and makes the crew work ever harder. They still gather many seal.

Supplemental text

John Martin, The
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

As printed in Ryan & Small, Haulin' Rope & Gaff, p. 21. From the first (1927)
edition of Doyle's Old Time Songs and Poetry of Newfoundland.

Come all ye jolly fishermen agoing to the ice,
Oh, beware of the John Martin and don't go in her twice.
For I was in her last spring and I'll go in her no more.
If I cannot get a better berth, I'd rather stay ashore.

With my ring to re la ring to lah rady oh.

(5 additional stanzas, one of them of six lines rather than four)


Doyle, who published this song in his 1927 edition, claims it was written by "in 1845 by John Reardon of Perry's Cove," but the earlier publication by Murphy does not list an author. Doyle also says the _John Martin_ was captained by John Bransfield, who is not mentioned in the song. - RBW


  1. Ryan/Small, pp. 20-21, "The Song of the John Martin (1)," "The John Martin (2)" (2 texts)
  2. ST RySm020 (Partial)
  3. Roud #12524
  4. BI, RySm020


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1925 (Murphy, Songs Sung by Old Time Sealers of Many Years Ago)
Found in: Canada(Newf)