Come all ye jolly lumbermen, and listen to my song
But do not get discouraged, the length it is not long;
Concerning of some lumbermen, who did agree to go
To spend one pleasant winter up in Canada-I-O.
It happened late one season in the fall of fifty-three
A preacher of the gospel one morning came to me;
Says he, "My jolly fellow, how would you like to go
To spend one pleasant winter up in Canada-I-O?"
To him I quickly made reply, and unto him did say,
"In going out to Canada depends upon the pay.
If you will pay good wages, my passage to and fro,
I think I'll go along with you to Canada-I-O."
"Yes, we will pay good wages, and will pay your wages out,
Provided you sign papers that you will stay the route;
But if you do get homesick and swear that home you'll go
We never can your passage pay from Canada-I-O."
"And if you get dissatisfied and do not wish to stay,
We do not wish to bind you, no, not one single day,
You just refund the money we had to pay, you know,
Then you can leave that bonny place called Canada-I-O.
It was by his gift of flattery he enlisted quite a train,
Some twenty-five or thirty, both well and able men;
We had a pleasant journey o'er the road we had to go,
Till we landed at Three Rivers, up in Canada-I-O.
But there our joys were ended, and our sorrows did begin,
Fields, Phillips and Norcross they then came marching in.
They sent us all directions, some where I do not know,
Among those jabbering Frenchmen up in Canada-I-O.
After we had suffered there some eight or ten long weeks,
We arrived at headquarters, up among the lakes;
We thought we'd find a paradise, at least they told us so,
God grant there may be no worse hell than Canada-I-O.
To describe what we have suffered is past the art of man;
But to give a fair description I will do the best I can:
Our food the dogs would snarl at, our beds were on the snow,
We suffered worse than murderers up in Canada-I-O.
Our hearts were made of iron and our souls were cased with steel,
The hardships of that winter could never make us yield;
Fields, Phillips and Norcross they found their match, I know
Among the boys that went from Maine to Canada-I-O.
But now our lumbering is over and we are returning home,
To greet our wives and sweethearts and never more to roam;
To greet our friends and neighbors; we'll tell them not to go
To that forsaken G---- D--- place called Canada-I-O.
Note: A lumberman's Buffalo Skinners