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Words to Old Newfoundland Songs
Heard Around the Harbor Main Region

WHO STOPPED THE GUN ?
by
M.A. Devine

 

 


"Now hasten forth,reporter man," the Editor did say,
"For some important news is out about the town to-day;
Go down to Skipper Eli Dawe and question him, my son;
He knows,I s'pose,who told Tom Rose
To stop the Sunday Gun."

Then straight hied that reporter man to Skipper Eli Dawe,
And sought the information with considerable awe;
"I cannot tell," the Skipper said, "but ask E.C.Watson;
He knows, I s'pose,who told Tom Rose 
To stop the Sunday Gun."

E.C. received the pencil-fiend with bland and kindly smile,
And said,"I'll get the news you want in just a little while;
I'll inquire of H.C. Morris--he's out now for a run--
He knows, I s'pose,who told Tom Rose 
To stop the Sunday Gun."

'Ere long the stalwart form of Mr.Morris hove in sight;
He said, "My dear reporter man,go call on Richard White;
For information of this sort,good Richard takes the bun;
He knows,I s'pose,who told Tom Rose
To stop the Sunday Gun."

Good Richard,in his kindly way,received the wandering scribe,
And said he always had a liking for the tribe,
But for such information Captain English is the one;
"He knows,I s'pose, who told Tom Rose
To stop the Sunday Gun."

The captain calmly listened to the scribbler's tale of woe,
And said he always told the papers anything he'd know;
"Try Mr.Wheatley;he's the man who'll ask no better fun;
He knows,I s'pose,who told Tom Rose
To stop the Sunday Gun."

To Mr.Wheatley's private den the wanderer led the way;
But the lights were out,and doors were locked,
It was the close of day;
But round the vaulted corridor an echoing run;
Who knows,I s'pose who asked Tom Rose
To stop the Sunday Gun.

The brave policeman on his beat was shocked at dawn of day
To find the body of  a man,prone,lifeless by the way;
The spirit of the puzzled scribe had flown beyond the sun;
And now knows,I s'pose,who told Tom Rose 
To stop the Sunday Gun.

Note: Additional Information provided by: 

Don Parsons
Interpretation Specialist
Parks Canada, Eastern Newfoundland

The "gun" referred to in the poem is the "Noon Day Gun" on Signal Hill in
St. John's.  As early as 1840 (and possibly even earlier) guns were fired
to announce time of day in St. John's. Originally there were morning, noon
and evening guns but over time the morning and evening guns were dropped
leaving only the Noon Day Gun. In 1906 local clergy complained that the gun
was a distraction to their Sunday services and for a short period (until
public opinion overruled the clergy) signalman, Tom Rose was instructed not
to fire the gun on Sundays. M. A. Devine's poem was written as a satirical
response to the issue.

The Noon Day gun was also fired each year to announce that the St. John's
Regatta would go ahead. The firing of the gun was interrupted several times
during the twentieth century, mostly due to fiscal restraint, and was
finally discontinued in the mid 1990s.

I hope this information is helpful.

Sincerely,
Don Parsons


 

 

 

Contributed by Martha Warren

Page Revised: July 2002 (Don Tate)

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