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SOURCE: Bob Pfeffer

SOURCE'S SOURCE: Journal, Bengal, 1833

D A7 D
'Twas in 17 hundred and 84
D A7
And of March the seventeenth day
That we weighed our anchors to our bow
D A7 D
And for Greenland bore away, brave boys
D A7 D
And for Greenland bore away.

Bold Stevens was our captain's name
And our ship the Lion so bold
And we, poor souls, our anchors weighed
To face the storms and cold, ...

And when we arriv-ed in that cold countree
Our goodly ship to moor
We wished ourselves safe back again
With those pretty girls on shore, ...

Our boatswain in the maintop stood
With a spyglass in his hand
"A whale, a whale my lads," he cried
And she spouts at every span, ...

Our captain walked the quarter-deck
And a fine little man was he
"Overhaul, overhaul, let your davit tackles fall
And launch your boats for sea," ...

We struck that whale, and down she went
But she gave a flourish with her tail
And the boat capsized, and four gallant men were drown'd
And we never caught that whale, ...

Well, the losin' of those gallant men
It grieves my heart full sore
But the losin' of a hundred-barrel whale
Well it grieves me ten times more, ...

The winter star doth now appear
So boys, we'll anchors weigh
It's time to leave this cold countree
And homeward bear away, ...

Oh, Greenland is a dreadful place
A land that's never green
Where there's ice and there's snow and the whale-fishes blow
And daylight's seldom seen, ...

DT #321
Laws K21
@sailor @work @death @animal @whaling
versions of this recorded by
Weavers and MacColl
filename[ GREENLAN

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The Greenland Whale Fishery (from The Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs)


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