Greenland Whale Fisheries

American sea ballad

It was eighteen hundred and thirty nine,
On the fourteenth day of May,
When we weighed our anchor and set our sail,
And for Greenland bore away, brave boys,
And for Greenland bore away.

Now our captain’s name was William Moore,
And the first mate’s was the same,
And the ship was called the “Lion,” so brave,
As she plowed the raging main, brave boys,
As she plowed the raging main.

And the lookout, he stood in the top cross-tree,
With a spyglass in his hand,
“There's a whale, there's a whale, and a whalefish,” he cried,
“And she blows at every span, brave boys
She blows at every span.”

Well, the captain, he stood on the quarter deck,
And the ice was in his eye;
“Overhaul, overhaul! Let your davit tackles fall,
And it’s lower your boats to sea, brave boys,
And it’s lower your boats to sea.”

Now the boat’s being lowered, and the whale being struck,
He gave one flurry of his tail,
And down went the boat and those six jolly tars,
And they never came up no more, brave boys,
They never came up no more.

When the captain he heard of the loss of his men,
It grieved his heart full sore,
But when he heard of the loss of that whale, why,
It grieved him ten times more, brave boys,
It grieved him ten times more.

Oh Greenland is a dreadful place,
A land that’s never green,
Where there’s ice and snow, and the whalefishes blow,
And the daylight’s seldom seen, brave boys,
And the daylight’s seldom seen.

The winter star does now appear,
So boys we’ll anchor weigh,
It’s time to leave this cold country,
And homeward bear away, brave boys,
And homeward bear away.