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The Miramichi Fire It is the truth what I now tell you For my eyes did partly see What did happen to the people On the banks of Miramichi; What did happen to the people On the banks of Miramichi. On the seventeenth evening of October Eighteen hundred and twenty-five Thousands of people fell by fire Scorched were those that did survive. Some said it was the sins of people And their sins rolled mountains high; Which did ascend up to Jehovah He would see and justify. In order to destroy our lumber And our country to distress He sent the fire in a whirlwind From the howling wilderness. First on the nor'west was discovered Twenty-two there then did die, After it had swept o'er the meadows To Newcastle it did fly. While the people were a-sleeping Fire seized upon their town, Fine and handsome were their dwellings Soon they tumbled to the ground. It burned three ships that were a-building And two more at anchor lay, Many that had seen the fire Thought it was the judgment day. Twelve more men were burnt by fire In the compass of that town, Twenty-five more on the water In a scow upset and drowned. A family below Newcastle Were destroyed among the rest, Father, mother, and three children, One an infant at the breast. Thirteen families were residing Just out back of Gretna Green, All of them were burnt by fire, Only one alive was seen. Then it passed to Black River, Where it did burn sixty more So it forced its way with fury Till it reached the briny shore. Forty-two miles by one hundred This great fire did extend; All was done within eight hours Not exceeding over ten. As I have spoke of things collective Now I intend to personate And speak of some of my acquaintance Of whom I was intimate. A lady was drove to the water, Where she stood both wet and cold, Notwithstanding her iate illness, Had a babe but three days old. Six young men, both smart and active, Were to work on the nor'west, When they saw the fire coming, To escape it tried their best. About two miles from where their camp stood They were found each one of them But to paint their sad appearance I cannot with tongue or pen. To see these fine, these blooming young men All lay dead upon the ground And their brothers standing mourning Spread a dismal scene around. Then we dug a grave and buried Those whom the fire did burn Then each of us that are living To our dwelling did return. I heard the sighs, the cries and groaning Saw the falling of the tears, By me this will not be forgotten Should I live a hundred years. Sisters weeping for their brothers, Father crying for his son, And with bitter, heartfelt sorrow, Said the mother, "I'm undone!" It killed the wild beasts of the forests In the rivers many fish Such another horrid fire See again I do not wish. From Maritime Folk Songs, Creighton Collected from Jean McDonald, NB 1953 DT #324 Laws G24 RG oct96
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!