Monday, May 18, 2009
The Old Settler Song
Words by Judge Francis B. Henry, to the tune of "Old Rosin the Beau"
Rise Up Singing chapter: Good Times, p.89
D - / - Bm / D DG / DA D / D G / D Bm / D DG / DA D
There's a story I retell quickly at the end of the video that comes from the book Kwakiutl Legends, as told to Pamela Whitaker by Chief James Wallas, hereditary chief of the Quatsino band of the Northern Vancouver Island Kwakiutl.
The story takes place in Shushartie Bay, B.C., Canada
I've wandered all over this country
Prospecting and digging for gold
I've tunneled, hydraulicked and cradled
And I have been frequently sold
And I have been frequently sold / And I have been frequently sold
I've tunneled, hydraulicked and cradled / And I have been frequently sold
For one who got rich by mining
I saw there were hundreds grew poor
I made up my mind to try farming
The only pursuit that is sure
The only pursuit...
I rolled up my grub in my blanket
I left all my tools on the ground
I started one morning to shank it
For the paradise called Puget Sound...
Arriving dead broke in midwinter
I found it enveloped in fog
And covered all over with timber
As thick as the hair on a dog...
I staked me a claim in the forest
And set myself out to hard toil
For two years I chopped and I beavered
But I never got down to the soil...
I tried to get out of the country
But poverty forced me to stay
Until I became an Old Settler
Now nothing could drive me away...
No longer the slave of ambition
I laugh at the world and its sham
And think of my happy condition
Surrounded by acres of clams...