Empress of Ireland – Coole Park



Down the St Lawrence, headed for Liverpool
Laurence and Mabel hold hands at the rail
Ethel in diamonds, the Salvation Army Band
Tiria Townshend on a trip round the world

First classmen, brown leather, green velvet, tulip wood
Moose antlers stored in an unwanted bag
Bone china, fine linens, Spanish mahogany
On tufted banquets dine most esteemed guests.

Down on the promenade Ali led a singalong
Moon and stars shone on the jubilant crowd
Some still wrote letters, played cards, drank a glass of port
Then all retired for a rest for first night.

Dreams of reunions, homecomings, honeymoons
Meeting grandchildren, grandparents’ delight
The chief steward had found no problems at hand
The Empress of Ireland made her way to sea.


Red to red, green to green
The fog dropped its pall, she ran blind through the night
A collier sliced Empress, some rose from their beds
Swift wall of water soon buried their heads

Lifeboats for all, no time to fill them
Just fourteen minutes, the Empress was gone
One thousand twelve souls, she took when she dove
The fog left a green glowing graveyard behind.


Transcribed by Heather Sparling from the recording

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