Henry's Songbook

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Greenland Bound

  • (Trad)

    Once more for Greenland we are bound
    To leave you all behind
    Our ship is painted green and our blubber hooks are keen
    And we sail before the icy wind

    We left our sweethearts and our wives
    A-weeping on the pier
    Cheer up, my dears, we soon shall return
    For it's only half a year

    With tarry dress we reached Stromness
    Where we did go ashore
    With whalermen so scarce and the water even less
    We'll have to take on more

    And when we came to the northern ice
    We crowded on full sail
    Each boat well-manned with a keen and lively band
    All for to hunt the whale

    Now dark and dreary grows the night
    And the stars begin to burn
    With the chasing of the whale and the trying of the oil
    And it seems like we'll never return

    Our six-month being done, we tie up again
    And the lads all go ashore
    With plenty of brass and a bonny bonny lass
    For to make them taverns roar

    To Greenland's coast we'll drink a toast
    And to them we love so dear
    And across the icy main to the whaling grounds again
    We'll take a trip next year

    (as sung by A. L. Lloyd)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1967:] Chase of right whale, West Greenland, c. 1840.
    By the 1840s, British whaling reached a low ebb; only fourteen vessels were leaving our ports. [...] When the ships left London, Hull, Dundee for the northern grounds, the yards would [be] decorated with ribbons snatched from any pretty girls venturing near the quay, and the men would sing on the maindeck till the harbour bar was passed. They would put in at the Orkneys or Shetlands to take on fresh provisions and water, and perhaps a man or two to complete the crew, and then off to the cold coast of Greenland. This tender farewell song was a favourite of Fred Clausen, a meat-cutter aboard the Southern Empress [the whaling ship Lloyd himself sailed in in the 1930s], and native of Stoneferry, Hull. Its elegiac tone suggests it was made by a Scottish whalerman (English whale-balladeers generally inclined to rough adventure or outspoken complaint). John Ord [...] heard the melody, or something very like it, sung by fisher-girls in north-east Scotland in the 1880s. (Notes A. L. Lloyd, 'Leviathan!')

Quelle: Scotland

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aktualisiert am 15.02.2000