Song 266: "The Greenland Whalefishers"

They took us jolly sailor lads
A-fishing for the whale
On the fourth day of August in 1864,
Bound for Greenland we set sail.

The lookout stood on the crosstrees high
With a spyglass in his hand
"There’s a whale, there’s a whale, there’s a whale fish," he cried,
"And she blows at every span."

The captain stood on the quarterdeck
And a sod of a man was he
"Overhaul, overhaul, let your davitackles fall
And we’ll launch them boats to sea."

We struck that whale and the line played out
But she gave a flourish with her tail
The boat capsized, we lost seven of our men
And we never caught that whale

Now the losin' of seven fine seamen
Oh, it grieved the captain so
That the losin' of the bloody sperm whale
Oh, it grieved him ten times more

Now Greenland is a horrid place
Where us whaling lads have to go
Where the rose and the lillies never bloom in spring
Oh there’s only ice and snow

The winter star doth now appear
So boys we’ll anchor a-weigh
It’s time to leave this cold count’ry
Now let’s homeward sail away