The Greenland Whale                adapted by Steve Gardham

’Twas in eighteen-hundred-and-fifty-three
On March the fifteenth day,
We hoisted our colours to the masthead high
And for Greenland bore away, brave boys,
And for Greenland bore away.

And when we came to Baffin Bay
Where the icy winds do roar,
We wished ourselves right back again
With the girls on the Humber shore, &c.

The lookout to the masthead went
With a spyglass in his hand:
“There’s a whale, there’s a whale, there’s a whalefish!” he cried,
“And she blows at every span,” &c.

Our captain stood on the quarter deck
And a valiant fellow was he:
“Overhaul, overhaul, let your davit tackles fall
And launch your boats to sea,” &c.

The whale was struck and the line paid out,
But she gave a flurry with her tail:
Our boat capsized and we lost five men,
And we never caught that whale, &c.

Now when this news to our captain came
That five of our men was drowned,
He gave the command right out of hand,
“Oh, haul your colours down,” &c.

The losing of that whale, brave boys,
Why it grieved our captain sore,
But the losing of those five brave men,
Why it grieved him ten times more, &c.

Greenland is a barren place,
A land where grows no green,
Where there’s ice and snow and the whalefishes blow,
And the daylight’s seldom seen, &c.

William Wells was our captain’s name,
Our ship the Truelove bold:
We sailed away from Baffin Bay,
Where the sea is icy cold, &c.