Johnny August - Lyrics Home

He was riding on her shoulders
where the sand and water join,
when he heard the blast of swan-shot
as it tore into her loins.
And the last thing she remembered
as the light began to fade
were his cries across the water
as they carried him away.
They fattened up their purses
on that winter back in Poole.
"Come and see the captive red boy!
Only two-pence buys a view!"
Then south-west again from England
to the Catalina tide.
He was christened Johnny August
for the month his mother died.

The skin robe was discarded
for the cotton and the wool.
The alder juice was washed away.
He lived the settler's rule.
He was raised up in the harbor
where the old folks used to say
"A better master never sailed
a vessel on that bay!"

'Tis said that every autumn
August launched a swift canoe
and sailed to secret places
that the white men never knew.

In a small Beothuk village
he would sojourn half a moon,
then sail back to a people
that the red men never knew.

The governor ordered contact
be established with that race.
Compassion showed on paper
but too little on his face.
While they huddled 'round the table
wondering how to do the deed,
John August was interred
beside a church in Trinity.

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Music and Lyrics by: Jef White
Vocals: Jef White & Nancy Ward
Engineering and Programming: Mark Hussey and Wayne Taylor
Produced and Arranged by: Jef White

Words and music
by Jef White © 1995