The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #95588   Message #1862898
Posted By: Barry Finn
19-Oct-06 - 01:55 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Whaler's Lament / Whalerman's Lament
Hi Jim
I was thinking of Lloyd when I first responded to this post & I could here him singing it in my head. Went & pulled out the LP Leviathan & glanced at it I didn't see it, then I though I must've heard him doing it some where else. Seeing your post I went back & found it there & then went to check the accompanying fold out. So I'm reposting Huntington's version along with Lloyds different version for comparsion. Thanks for the reminder Jim.

Gale Huntington has 10 verses while A L Lloyd has 7. Lloyd has his first 4 verses the same as Huntington's only the order of the verses are different form Gale's & the last 3 of Lloyds are different verses from what Huntington gives. Here are both versions.

Whalerman's Lament (Gale Huntington's version)

"Twas on the briny ocean
On a whaleship I did go
Oft times I thought of distant friends
Oft times I thought of home

Remembering of my youthful days
It grieved my heart full sore
And fain I would return again
To my own native shore

Through dreary discontented
I then resolved to go
My fortune on the seas to try
To ease me of my woe

I shipped me on a whaleship
To sail without delay
To the Pacific Ocean
There for a while to stay

Through dreary storms & tempest
And through some heavy gales
Around Cape Horn we sped our way
To look for sperm whales

They will rob you they will use you
Worse than any slave
Before you go a-whaling boys
You best be in your graves

They'll flog you for the least offense
And that is frequent too
And the best that you will get from them
Is plenty more work to do

So do it now or damn your eyes
I will flog you till you're blue
My boys I wouldn't say it all
But it is all too true

But if I ever return again
A solemn vow I'll take
That I'll never go a-whaling
My liberty to stake

I will stay at home
And I will roam no more
For pleasures are but few my boys
Far from our native shore


THE WHALEMAN'S LAMENT (A L Lloyd's version)

'Twas on the briny ocean on a whaleship I did go.
I often thought of distant friends; I often thought of home.

Through dreary storms and tempests and through some heavy gales,
Around Cape Horn we sped our way to look out for sperm whales.

They'll rob you and they'll use you; it's worse than any slaves.
Before you go a-whalin', boys, you'd best be in your graves.

It's "Do it now or damn your eyes; I'll flog you till you're blue."
Oh, boys I couldn't tell it all, but ev'ry word is true.

The wind do blow and the great seas grow and we strain upon the oars,
And your heart would bleed at the sperm whale's speed, and it's "Pull, you sons of whores."

The weary chase is over and the stars begin to glow,
And it's "Light the flares, you lubberly lot; there's tryin' out to do."

I swore I'd not go back again once we was homeward bound,
For the pleasures are but few, my boys, on them bitter whaling grounds.

Lloyd adds that these songs (on the LP) were songs of the whaling grounds which British whalers were active & this song is from the hunting on the sperm whale in the Pacific around 1850.

This is a great collection of whaling songs/ballads. Though some might be passed over from being common this CD/LP was the reason they became common & is a must to anyone interested in the songs of whalers.
Lloyd is accompanied by Alf Edwards (concertina & ocarina)
Dave Swarbrick (fiddle)
Martin Carthy (mandoline)
Trevor Lucas (chorys)
Martyn Wyndham Reade (chorus)

The list of song on the LP (I don't know about the CD) are

The Balaena
The Coast Of Peru
Greenland Bound
The Weary Whaling Grounds
The Cruel Ship's Captain
Off to Sea Once More
The 23rd of March
The Bonny Ship the DiamonTalcahuano Girls
Farewell to Tarwathie
Rolling Down to Old Maui
The Greenland Whale Fishery
Paddy & the Whale
The Whalerman's Lament
The Eclipse

The fold out notes alone are worth the price of the CD.