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Song Parodies -> "The Grace That Delivered John Newton"

Original Song Title:

"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"

Original Performer:

Gordon Lightfoot

Parody Song Title:

"The Grace That Delivered John Newton"

Parody Written by:

Patrick McWilliams

The Lyrics

November 10, 2021 is the 46th anniversary of the loss of the freighter Edmund Fitzgerald and its 29 man crew. In the golden age of amiright there was a brief fad for retelling the tale of this tragedy. Some of my efforts in that regard were not quite respectful. I wrote an account using the tune of Amazing Grace. My brother's favorite song. After I read it to him, he said, "Now do it in the other direction". A challenge that was really challenging. Then I realized that the author, John Newton, was a sailor and slave trader, who came to repent of his many sins. Here is my take on his story, using Gordon Lightfoot's maritime ballad.
A self-described wretch, it would have been quite a stretch
To find grace in the soul of John Newton
Though prospects were few, he had at least two
Both the King and the Devil recruitin'

Though his mother implored that he follow the Lord
His father's profession soon beckoned
For now he would be a man of the sea
And a mutinous scoundrel, all reckoned

From the young age of twelve, John was tempted to delve
Into every vice Satan presented
But no one disapproved as his path in live moved
Toward the most vicious trade yet invented

Some rum, a cheap knife, could buy a man's life
To toil on Barbados' Plantation
Neath the sail and the mast vast fortunes amassed
From the cargo in chains' transportation

In the age of the lash, John was destined to clash
With H.M. S. Harwich's master
As the cat o'nine tails his bare torso assails
John plotted the captain's disaster

The threat to his life from the midshipman's knife
The captain would find most unnerving
A transfer arranged, John's course in life changed
'twas a new sovereign (1) he would be serving

John's reprobate ends didn't earn many friends
His indulgence in drinkin' and cursin'
Would find him once more being stranded ashore
To learn about slavery in person

A planter named Clow would demonstrate how
It felt to be starved, stripped and beaten
When the ransom arrived, John was barely alive
Back to England 'twas time for retreatin'

On the homeward bound cruise, John's life he might lose
As the waves broke over the railing
For the first time in years he cries out in his fears
To the One who's love never is failing (2)

With the passage of time John would learn 'twas a crime
To traffic the life of his brother
Other dreams to aspire, from the sea he'd retire
To follow the path of his mother

In the hope that he might set the wrong he'd done right
John published his act of contrition (3)
He would urge Wilberforce (4) to stay true to the course
And work toward complete abolition

As the pressure grew the MP's all knew
"twas the moment for Emancipation
His remaining days few, but John Newton knew
And joined in the great celebration

Through dangers and snares to a parish's care
A life of profound transformation
From bondage to sin, to sweet lines from his pen
A guide on the path to Salvation

In our churches are heard inspirational words
We sing as the Saviour we're praising
God had a plan for an unpromising man
And the results were truly amazing





(1) British gold coin. (2)A storm off the coast of Ireland caused Newton to reexamine his life, though change would come slowly. (3) "Thoughts Upon The African Slave Trade" (pamphlet). (4) William Wilberforce, leader of the anti-slavery movement in Parliament.

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Voting Results

 
Pacing: 4.8
How Funny: 4.2
Overall Rating: 4.5

Total Votes: 4

Voting Breakdown

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User Comments

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CML - November 10, 2021 - Report this comment
Beautiful parody!! Awesome! ..... In recognition thereof and by the power vested in me as a self apointed elder statesman at Amiright, I hereby pronounce you absolved of any and all opprobrium for your participation in Amiright's ill considered "FitzGerald Follies". Go in peace, my son
Patrick - November 11, 2021 - Report this comment
I'm glad someone took the time to read this. It was the product of a couple months thought. I haven't been posting much this year. Most of the active writers from back then are gone, some departed. Michael Pacholek didn't know until recently that Steven L Victor (Tommy Turtle) had died. Robert D Arndt Jr passed away not long ago. Leogh (Leo Keough) simply disappeared without a trace. I noticed my original "Amazing Grace" parody got a number of comments from all the leading figures. Nothing seems to draw much attention these days. It doesn't help that the majority of parodies seem to be of songs I've never heard. I imagine a lot of the newer authors don't know the stuff I like. I'm not announcing my retirement, but if this is the last parody, it's one I can be proud of.

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