I've always liked the version that Doerflinger gives in his Shanty Men and Shanty Boys book. He claims it is the earliest version he has come across. All I know is that it is a great version from the Lady's point of view.
It was homeward bound one night on the deep
Lying in my hammock I fell fast asleep
I dreamed a dream that I thought was true
Concerning Franklin and his gallant crew.
It was as we neared the English shore
I heard a lady sadly deplore
She wrung her hands and seemed to say
"Alas, my husband is long away.
"It's seven long years since that ship of fame
First bore my husband across the main
With hearts undaunted and courage stout
To seek a northwestern passage out.
"In Baffin Bay where the whalefish blows
Is the fate of Franklin, nobody knows.
Oh, Arctic Seas, what you've concealed
On the Judgement Day will be revealed.
"A voice within I cannot control
Is my assurance of his peace of soul
Ten thousand pounds would I freely give
To learn my husband still did live.
"God bless the widows who now must weep
Who've lost their husbands all on the deep.
They've left their homes like many more
They've left their homes to return no more."