MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Coaker's Dream
Ned Rice NFLD 1 Tape 7 Track 8
Cape Broyle Audio:
Newfoundland ballad / political, comic Musical notation available

I had a dream the other night it was an awful dream,
Although it may not look so bad as what to me it seems,
I dreamt Sir William Coaker died and was condemned to hell,
But somehow underhanded he got in heaven to dwell,

He had not been there very long when St. Peter had his doubts,
He asked him for his passport and therefore turned him out,
Saying go along old Coaker old boy you better get,
You got no pass for heaven and it's heaven you must quit.

And Coaker rising from his seat and walked towards the gate,
He thought to St. Peter but he made him hold his prate,
The devil looking out from hell saying here cornes a man,
I think it's William Coaker he belong to Newfoundland.

Good evening Mr. Devil have pity now on me,
Good evening Mr. Devil have pity here on me,
For I had served you when on earth and I will serve you here,
What can I do to please you I love you quite sincere.

Now seeing you're the only man left here from Newfoundland,
I'll leave you boss when I am gone let Hell in your command,
I thank you Mr. Devil it is very kind of you,
For I would have been here for long ago if I had this work to do.

One day the devil he went out and Coaker took full charge,
He combined all the people there the devil had set at large,
Says they will have elections here and the ballots they will tell,
Who will be boss whether the devil is gone and ruler over hell.

We have a lot of people here belong to foreign lands,
Old Coaker got the ballots and he served them to all hands,
And when the ballots they were read I heard a muttering oath,
Old Coaker got defeated and the devil got the vote.

What will we do with Coaker says the devil to the crowd,
We'll cast him in the fire this the people cried aloud,
The furnace door was open I saw a fiery flame,
And it had woke me and I found 'twas nothing but a dream.



History: Sir William Coaker was 16 when he came to New World Island as the manager of a store in Pike's Arm for the McDougall and Templeton Company of St. John's. Around 1894, Coaker started an experimental farm on Coaker Island in Dildo Run. He was not impressed with the state of the fishery in Newfoundland and in 1908 he founded the Fishermen's Protective Union in Herring Neck.The movement spread rapidly around Notre Dame Bay and Coaker moved on to found the town of Port Union in 1915.The FPU had garnered over 20,000 members by 1912. In 1923, Coaker was knighted for his work with the fishermen. The song, however, reflects the perspective of Coaker's opponents.

Text notes: The singer relates a dream in which Coaker died and went to heaven by mistake.

Tune notes: In a major key and 4/4 metre, this tune begins like "Last night I had the strangest dream."

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