The Weary Whaling Ground

If I had the wings of a gull, my dear,
I’d spread them and fly home;
I’d leave old Greenland’s icy shores
For the right whale there is none;
For the work is hard and the wind do blow,
There’s little comfort here,
And I’d rather be snug in a Dock Street pub
A drinking of good beer.
A man must be mad or he wants money bad
To venture catching whales;
Or he may be drowned when the fish turns around
And his arm be smashed by his tail;
For the work is grand for the young green hand,
His heart is full when he goes;
In a very short burst he’ll soon hear the curse
Of a cry of “There she blows !”

It’s up on deck now for Christ’s sake,
Move quickly if you can,
And he stumbles on deck he’s so dizzy and so sick,
For his life he don’t give a damn;
But high overhead the great flukes spread,
The mate gives the whale the iron,
And comes the blood in a purple flood
Turns the sea there bright carmine.

These trials we bear for three long years
And we are safe for home;
We’re supposed for our toil to get a bonus on the oil
And an equal share of the bone;
But we go to the agent to settle for the trip,
We find we’ve cause to lament;
We’ve sailed away three years of our lives,
We’ve earned about three pound ten.