Posted on

The Hampden Whaler

Written by Robbie Smith and Anne Smith

Splintered mast in a ragged gale
– no more she’ll sail – no more she’ll sail –
Who amongst us will prevail?

When I was one and twenty in Hampden Newfoundland
I signed aboard a whaling ship to give the byes a hand

Ah, the Hampden Whaler, Oh the life she wove
I rue the day I sailed her beyond the sheltered cove

They warned me of the dangers – they laughed and made their wagers
They said the waves and the icy winds would one day take their toll
But I would not be taunted – I stood my ground undaunted
For the sea was in my blood and fire in my soul

We cleared the White Bay breakers due north to Labrador
And tracked Baleens off Greenland along the frozen shore

Ah, the Hampden Whaler, Oh the life she wove
I rue the day I sailed her beyond the sheltered cove

Ah, the Hampden Whaler, Oh the life she wove
I rue the day I sailed her beyond the sheltered cove

No sooner had we anchored amid the silent floes
Than the captain spied the risin’ spray and hollered thar she blows

Ah, the Hampden Whaler, Oh the life she wove
I rue the day I sailed her beyond the sheltered cove

Ah, the Hampden Whaler, Oh the life she wove
I rue the day I sailed her beyond the sheltered cove

Ah but six days out the wind turned about and it took us by surprise
And it caught the sail with such a gale we feared we would capsize

Ah, the Hampden Whaler, Oh the life she wove
I rue the day I sailed her beyond the sheltered cove

We heard a sound and we looked around as the ice began to shift
And something buckled under us as the bow began to lift

Ah, the Hampden Whaler, Oh the life she wove
I rue the day I sailed her beyond the sheltered cove

We tried our best to save her but the wind would grant no favour
She tore the sails and the riggin’ lines as if with some great sword
But the captain would not leave her – his orders were to free her
As she floundered on the jagged bergs with thirty hands aboard

Splintered mast in a ragged gale
– no more she’ll sail – no more she’ll sail
Who amongst us will prevail
– to tell the tale – to tell the tale
Who amongst us will prevail?

Twas days before they found me – the wreckage all around me
So cold and weak I couldn’t speak when they asked me for my name
And though the scars have faded and the storms have since abated
I know the sea has branded me and I’ll never be the same

So learn your lessons well my lads and heed the sailors’ lore
When it’s time to launch the whaling ships just stay upon the shore

Ah, the Hampden Whaler, Oh the life she wove
I rue the day I sailed her beyond the sheltered cove

Ah, the Hampden Whaler, Oh the life she wove
I rue the day I sailed her beyond the sheltered cove
Beyond the sheltered cove