The Wreck of the Union (A)



1 Ye landsmen and ye landsmen bold,
It’s little do youse know
What us poor sailors do endure
When the stormy winds do blow.

2 You can stay on shore with your pretty girls
Tell unto them fond tales,
But the hardest labour that ever you done
Was to reap your own corn fields.

3 The eighteenth day of November past
A heavy gale came on,
The heavens above looked angry
And the clouds did shade the sun.

4 Our captain gived us orders
And orders we must obey;
‘You’d better go forward, my boys,’ he said,
‘Your foresail to lower away.’

5 We tried to reef our mainsail
We found it couldn’t be done;
‘Twas under a three-reef foresail, my boys
Six leagues to the sea she runned.

6 Three hours in that condition
She had no means to stay,
To see the seas come tumbling down
Our ship on her beam-ends lay.

7 Once more she gently rises
Which caused us all to say:
‘God bless our noble vessel , my boys,
Once more she heads the sea.’

8 We boarded the wreck in the morning
A dismal sight to behold;
Three men lay frozen at her pumps
Six more in the cabin lay cold.

9 She is the Union from StJohn’s
How well I knows her mould,
And every time I thinks on her distress
She makes my blood run cold.

10 She is the Union from StJohn’s
How well I knows her name,
And every night as I lay on my bed
I can hear the young widows complain.

11 So now they’re gone God bless them –
My boys your race is run;
A widow must weep for her husband dear
And mourn for her darling son.

Citation: Lehr, Genevieve. O Come and I Will Song You, p. 190-193

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