Greenland Whale Fishery

They took us on the whaling ship
To the greenland’s icy ground,
They says we’d take a school of whale,
While we were outward bound, brave boys,
While we were outward bound,
 
The look-out stood in the barrel-eye,
With a spy glass in his hand;
There’s a whale, there’s a whale, there’s a whale!” he cries,
And she blows at every span, brave boys,
And she blows at every span.
 
The skipper stood on the quarterdeck
And the ice were in his eye,
Overhaul, overhaul let your Davey Tackle fall
And put your boats to sea, brave boys,
And put your boats to sea.
 
The boats went down with the men aboard
And the whale were full in view,
Resolve resolve every whalerman bawled,
For to steer where the whalefish blew, brave boys,
For to steer where the whalefish blew.
 
The harpoon struck and the line run out,
And the fish gave a flurry with his tail,
And he upset the boat, we lost half a dozen men,
No more, no more greenland for you, brave boys,
No more, no more greenland for you.
 
The losing of those five brave men did grieve our captain sore
But the losing of that hundred barrel whale
Oh it grieved him 10 times more, brave boys,
Oh it grieved him 10 times more
 
The northern star did now appear,
It was time to anchor way,
The ???????????????
And from greenland beared away, brave boys,
And from greenland beared away
 
Now greenland is a dreadful place,
It’s a place that’s seldom green,
Where the ices flow and the whalefish go,
And the daylight’s seldom seen, brave boys,
And the daylight’s seldom seen.

 

The sleeve notes for this version by Martyn Wyndham-Read, Danny Spooner and Gordon MacIntyre on the album ‘A Wench, a Whale and a Pint of Good Ale’ are as follows;

“Otherwise known as ‘The Spermwhale Fishery’, this is the classic forebitter of the British whalers. It is much older than the version given here, with broadside versions going back to 1725”

 

 

 

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