This Day in History (October 21, 1805)
This Day in History (September 17)
The E.C. Roberts was an ore-hauling Great Lakes schooner built in 1856. The 140' ship saw five decades of service, "staunch, strong, and true". September 17 marks just one more journey as it's recorded in Red Iron Ore. The song details the brutal physicality of the profession which offered little time to rest -- loading, unloading, or racing the fleet to the next port.
Try a random shanty sampling
For many months, for many years, we've sailed the salty seas,
But never lost on nights of storm our guts and bravery,
We love the run of salty foam the rolling waves that come,
But we like best the captain's roar:
"Come on, here is your rum!"
Repeat the last two lines in each verse as chorus
The anchor's up, the canvas loose, pas Cuxhaven then we sail,
With Heligoland soon left behind, we pray for a steady gale,
"One man on lookout, relieve the wheel!" the first mate's orders come:
"Free watch below!" and then his words?
"Come aft an' get your rum!"
But at Cape Horn in western storms our tops'ls blew away,
"All hands on deck! Put her about!" 'Twas such all night an' day,
At last the hardships had an end, we saw our steward come,
He called, a bottle in his hand,
"Come aft an' get yer rum!"
'Twas in eighteen hundreed and fifty three,
and of 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 in the crosstrees stood,
With his 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 launch your boats for sea, brave boys,
And launch your boats for sea."
Now 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,
To steer where the whalefish blew.
We struck that whale, the line paid out,
But she gave a flourish with her tail;
The boat capsized and four men were drowned,
And we never caught that whale, brave boys,
And we never caught that whale.
"To lose the boat," our captain said,
"It grieves my heart full sore;
But oh! to lose four gallant men,
It grieves me ten times more, brave boys,
It grieves me ten times more."
"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,
And homeward bear away."
Oh, Greenland is a dreadful place,
A land that's never green,
Where there's ice and snow, and the whalefishes blow,
And the daylight's seldom seen, brave boys,
And the daylight's seldom seen.
Away-ay, boys, away-o!
Blow me down this Yangtse River,
Away, boys, lift and walk away!
My lotus lady, I'll see no more,
Ch: Away, boys, away-o!
Since I left her on the China shore,
Ch: Away, boys, lift and walk away!
When we first met, she was like a queen,
Prettiest little thing I'd ever seen
She'd flashing eyes and long black hair,
All I could do was stand and stare,
I bought her silks and a golden comb,
Trouble's over now, the anchor's home,
I blowed my silver for to win her,
Now there's nothing left but donkey's dinner,
We're homeward bound, cookie's in the galley,
Farewell, Young Moon, of the Yangtse Valley,
Come all ye true-born lrishmen, a story I will tell,
Concerning Denis McCarthy, in Liverpool town did dwell.
'Twas down the northern docks one day he happened for to stay;
On a western ocean steamboat he stowed himself away.
After four long days and four long nights in the chain locker he was found,
The lrish lad was stowed away, leaving his native ground .
The lrish lad was stowed awag, leaving his native shore,
On board of a western ocean boat, The City of Baltimore.
The mate he came up on the deck, and to the crew did say:
"Where is that lrish son of a gun who stowed himself away?"
"I'm here," says bold McCarthy, "and as I've said hefore,
I'll fight any man that's fore or aft The City of Baltimore."
The mate, he being a cowardly man, before him wouldn't stand;
McCarthy, being a smart man, 'twas at the mate he ran.
McCarthy, being a smart man, this bucko he did lower,
And he stretched him senseless on the deck of the City of Baltimore.
The second mate and the bosun came to the mate's relief;
McCarthy with his capstan bar he soon made them retreat.
His Irish blood began to boil and he like a lion did roar,
Saying, "Skin and hair will fly this day on The City of Baltimore.
The captain was a Scotchman, McDonald was his name;
When he had seen what McCarthy done, right for'ard then he came.
"Well done," he cried, "my gallant boy. I'll give you three cheers more!
You fought your way right fore and aft on the City of Baltimore!"