Wreck of the Semmity



I was in the bay last winter, I’m going to explain,
All in a Yankee vessel, the Semmity was her name;
And she being deeply loaded and ready for to go
With a load of frozen herring, she looked beautiful, you know.

We steered our course across the Gulf as long as she could run,
The clouds piled up before us and soon o’ercast the sun;
The sky it did prove angry and seemed to throw a storm,
‘Twas all the signs of a breeze of wind before daylight next morn.

We hugged her under the western shore for 12 long hours or more,
The wind it veered from the nor’-nor’east and bitterly it did roar;
It veered around from the nor’-nor’west and blowed a heavy gale,
Every man was to his station for to close-reef the sail.

We tried her under double reefs but nothing could she do,
Our captain he gave orders to heave the vessel to;
Whilst in under three-reef foresail we let the Semmity lie,
To take her chance to break the sea or let her live or die.

In the first watch of the Semmity ’bout ten o’clock that night,
The seaman on the lookout could just discern the light;
Our captain he’s just gone below to get ready to turn in,
He came on deck and this did say: “Heave your vessel by the wind.”

He then picked up his sheeting short and pricked the vessel off,
He saw by his good reckoning how many miles she was off.
“That must have been a steamer’s light that fellow had seen then,
We’ll run her for another hour so swing her off again.”

‘Twas about fifteen minutes just after the words were said,
The seaman on the lookout cried, “Breakers right ahead!”
We saw she could not clear it and every man stood by,
‘Twas on a sunken rocky reef he runned her high and dry.

The first wave that rolled down on us I tell you he looked blue,
And all the crew like monkeys up ratlines they flew;
The second one rolled down on us, to the broad-beam she gave way,
She parted in the midships and her spars fell in the sea.

There was six in the main riggin’, and four in her for’ard,
They all got sove exceptin’ one by the mercy of the Lord.

Source: GEST Songs of Newfoundland and Labrador

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