Wreck of the Atlantic, The



1. Dear friends, come listen to the tale,
The loss which we deplore,
Of the gallant ship Atlantic lost
On Nova Scotia’s shore.

2. The most terrific accident
Befell that fated ship,
As she approached those rocky shores
On her way across the deep.

3. The sun has set behind the hills,
Night spread her wings around,
A night that will remembered be
For many a year to come.

4. Alas, a ship, a noble ship,
That had the ocean crossed,
And on he lonely Prospect shores
That night was wrecked and lost.

5. With full a thousand souls on board,
Her captain had no fear,
And heeded not the rocky coast
Which he was drawing near.

6. Till, oh, alas, it was too late!
The final shock was given.
That noble ship has struck the rock,
Amidships she was riven.

7. The terror-stricken souls on board,
Oh, who could give them aid?
Unto each other looked for help,
Each praying to be saved.

8. Number overboard were washed,
And perished in the deep,
While others frozen with the cold,
Died on the sinking ship.

9. Poor helpless women down below,
Of whom not one was saved,
Dear little children too,
All met a watery grave.

10. Amongst the women there were two
Who down the waves that night
Had each of them a little babe
That scarce had seen the light.

11. A lady with her babe in arms
Had reached the deck, we’re told,
With nothing but her night-clothes on
To shield her from the cold.

12. To save her life her slender form
Was fastened to a mast,
Where ten long hours she there remained
Before she breathed her last.

13. But ere she died her little babe
Was swept into the sea.
What misery did that mother bear
In her hours of agony!

14. Third officer Brodie, a brave man,
Swum over to the shore,
And quickly got a rope on board
To help the others o’er.

15. The kind-hearted fishermen
Did kindly them receive,
Giving them freely of their stores,
Supplying all their needs.

16. Next morning when the sun arose
And the angry billows swelled,
The people on the Prospect shore
A dreadful sight beheld.

17. The rocks around were strewn with dead,
And as each wave broke o’er,
Bearing its burden to be laid
With sorrow on the shore,

18. Both men and women, young and old,
With flesh and clothes all torn
Upon the sharp and craggy rocks
The angry waves had borne.

19. A lady with her little babe
Clasped tightly to her breast
Upon the tangled seaweed lay,
Gone to her long, long rest.

20. All who come there to see the sight
With heartfelt grief bemoaned
The fate of those who left their homes
To cross the ocean foam.

21. And far away from friends and home
In a foreign land to die,
A stranger’s home their burial place,
Not friend to close an eye.

22. Amongst the men on Prospect shore
Who risked a watery grave,
And spurred the men around him
The shipwrecked men to save,

23. Was their kind and loving clergyman,
Mr. Ancient was his name;
His name deserves to be enrolled
Upon a list of fame.

24. He said, “My friends, come take the boats,
And try whom we can save,”
And boldly took the foremost part,
The bravest of the brave.

25. Those hardy men who gave such help
Deserve the highest praise.
Oh, never forget their noble deeds
When thankful songs we raise!

26. The captain in that trying hour
Spoke kindly to the men,
Saying, “Be calm, good men,” while angry waves
Swept angry over them.

27. One Mr. Street, a gentleman,
Quite frantic with despair,
From cabin came, and in his arms
His little daughter bare.

28. And to one Ellery he said,
“Pray, Charlie, take my child,
That I may go my wife to seek,
The billows raging wild!”

29. And as the steward gazed on the child
And saw her face so fair,
His thoughts went quickly to his home –
He had one like her there.

30. The father did the mother seek,
But neither one came back;
The angry waves soon swept them off
From off the sinking wreck.

31. Poor suffering little innocent,
It cried, “Papa, come!”
Its clothes were then just take from
Its little bed so warm.

32. It cried, “Papa!” a short time,
But papa never came,
Expiring in the steward’s arms
In agony and pain.

33. Its little soul to heaven flew
To call its papa there.
I hope they hand in hand will walk
Through heavenly mansions fair.

34. Amongst these rescued from the wreck
Was John Andrew, a brave lad,
Who boldly struggled to the wreck
Bereft of all he had.

35. Father, mother, brother too,
Had sunk to rise no more,
But he with help from some strong men
Got safely to the shore.

36. Kind friends then took him to their homes,
His wants they did supply.
Strangers with pity in their hearts
Beheld the orphan boy.

37. When he arrived in Halifax
Warm welcome he received,
And not we have him journeying home
With his sisters dear to live.

38. Oh, never may those cruel rocks
Another victim gain,
Let her ships guard our rocky coast,

39. To those who parished in the deep
We give friendly grave.
Our joys would aye be greater far
Had we the power to save.

40. And now that noble steamer,
The Atlantic, she is lost,
Which o’er the stormy ocean
So oftentimes had passed.

41. And many sad and touching scenes
That never can be told,
And many a hundred liver we lost,
And many hearts made cold.

42. Now she will never sail again
Unto that distant shore,
To those who look with tearful eyes
For friends who come no more.

43. The dreadful sight will never
From our memories fade away,
Till children that surround us now
Are feeble, old and grey.

44. Oh, angry sea, give up they dead,
Oh rocky reefs, sink low!
How could you part so many friends?
Why did you cause such woe?

45. Oh, gallant ship that proudly sailed
An hour before the shock,
Why did you not keep far away
And shun that sunken rock?

46. With all our friends around us
We close our eyes to sleep,
Our thoughts will often wander
Across the dreary deep,

47. In grief for those who closed their eyes.
Not thoughts of death were near,
But to wake a sinking in the deep,
Shrieks sounding in their ears.

48. So it is with us, my loving friends,
There’s breakers all around,
And in an unexpected hour
The last great trump will sound.

49. The shrieks and groans and cries of those
Who fear the chastening rod,
All unprepared must them come forth
To meet Almighty God!

Citation: Mackenzie, William Roy. Ballads and Sea Songs From Nova Scotia, p. 229-235.

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