'Twas in eighteen hundred and fifty three,
On 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 a 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 quarter-deck,
And a fine little man was he.
"Overhaul! Overhaul! let your davit-tackles fall,
And launch your boats for the sea, brave boys,
And launch your boats for the sea."
Now the boats were launched and the men aboard,
And the whale was full in view.
Resolved was each seaman bold,
To steer where the whalefish blew, brave boys,
To steer where the whalefish blew.
We struck the whale, and the line paid out,
But she gave such a flourish with her tail,
That the boat capsized and four men were lost,
And we never caught that whale, brave boys,
And we never caught that whale.
"To lose that whale" our captain said
"It grieves my heart full sore,
But to lose four of our gallant sailor boys,
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.