Modern Street Ballads


We can no longer stay on shore,
Since we’re so deep in debt,
So a voyage to Greenland we will go,
Some money for to get—brave boys.

Now, when we lay at Liverpool,
Our good-like ship to man,
’Twas there our names were all wrote down,
And we’re bound for Greenland—brave boys.

In eighteen hundred and twenty-four,
On March the twenty third,
We hoisted our colours up to our mast head,
And for Greenland bore away—brave boys.

But when we came to Greenland,
Our good-like ship to moor,
Oh, then we wished ourselves back again
With our friends upon the shore—brave boys.

The boatswain went to the mast-head,
With his spy-glass in his hand,
Here’s a whale, a whale, a whale, he cried,
And she blows on every spring—brave boys.

The Captain on the quarter deck,
(A very good man was he,)
Overhaul, overhaul, your boat tackle fall
And launch your boats to sea—brave boys.

The boats being launch’d, and the hands got in,
The whale fishes appeared in view,
Resolved was the whole boat’s crew,
To steer where the whale fish blew—brave boys.

The whale being struck, and the whale paid on,
She gave a flash with her tail,
She capsized the boat, and lost five men,
Nor did we catch the whale—brave boys.

Bad news unto our captain brought,
That we had lost the ‘prentice boys,
He, hearing of this dreadful news,
His colours down did haul—brave boys.

The losing of this whale, brave boys,
Did grieve his heart full sore,
But losing of his five brave men,
Did grieve him ten times more—brave boys.*

Come, weigh your anchors, my brave boys,
For the winter star I see,
It’s time we should leave this could country,
And for England bear away—brave boys.

For Greenland is a barren place,
Neither light, nor day to be seen,
Nought but ice and snow where the whale-fish blow,
And the daylight seldom seen—brave boys.

* I have heard this verse sung this:
Now the losing of the Prentice boys
It grieved the Captain sore,
But the losing of the great big whale,
It grieved him very much more.

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