Sperm Whale Fishery
Traditional, arranged by Andrew Calhoun, recorded on Grapevine.
They signed us weary whaling men
For the icy greenland ground;
And they said we'd catch a score o' whales
While we was outward bound, brave boys,
While we was outward bound.
Oh, the look-out up in the cross-tree stood
With a spy-glass in his hand;
'There's a whale, there's a whale, and a whale-fish,' he cried,
'And she blows at every span, brave boys,
And she blows at every span.'
The captain stood on the quarterdeck,
And the ice was in his eye;
'Overhaul, overhaul, let your davit-tackles fall,
And put your boats to sea, brave boys,
And put your boats to sea!'
Oh, the boats were lowered and the men put out,
And the whale was full in view;
Resolved, resolved was each whalerman bold
To steer where the whale-fish blew, brave boys,
To steer where the whale-fish blew.
Now the harpoon struck and the line paid out,
And the whale give a flunder with her tail,
She upset the boat and we lost a bloody crew,
And we could not catch the whale, brave boys,
And we could not catch the whale.
Oh, the losing of five gallant men
It grieved our captain sore,
But the losing of one fine sperm whale
Oh, it grieved him ten times more, brave boys,
It grieved him ten times more.
The Northern star did now appear,
It was time to anchor weigh;
To stow below our running gear
And homeward bear away, brave boys,
And homeward bear away.
Oh, Greenland is a dreadful place,
It's a place that bears no green;
Where the cold winds blow and the whalefish go
And the daylight's seldom seen, brave boys,
And the daylight's seldom seen.