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(learned from Barry Olivier and Song Fest and Sing Out)

melody to go here

'Twas in eighteen hundred and fifty-three,
On June the thirteenth day,
That our gallant ship her anchor weighed
And for Greenland bore away, brave boys,
And for Greenland bore away.

The lookout on the crosstrees stood
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, brave boys,
And she blows at every span.

The captain stood on the quarterdeck,
And a fine little man was he,
Overhaul, overhaul, let your davit-tackles fall
And sail your boats for the sea, brave boys...

The boats were launched, and the men aboard,
And the whale was in full view.
Resolv-ed was each seaman bold
To steer where the whalefish blew, brave boys...

We struck that whale and the line paid out,
But she gave a flunder with her tail,
The boat capsized and four men were drowned,
And we never caught that whale, brave boys...

To lose the whale, our captain said,
it grieves my heart full sore,
But to lose four of my gallant men
It grieves me ten times more, brave boys...

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

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

(from miriam berg's folksong collection)