#01146
Twelve Ghostly Fishermen (Harry L Marcy)
The Ghostly Sailors
See also: Ghostly Crew (Collected by Leach)

You may smile if you're a mind to,
but perhaps you'll lend an ear,
Like men and boys together,
well nigh for fifty year;
We've sailed upon the ocean
in summer's pleasant days,
Likewise in stormy winter
when the howling winds do rage.

I've tossed about on Georges,
been fishing in the Bay,
Down south in early summer,
most anywhere would pay;
I've been in different vessels
to the Western Bank and Grand,
Likewise in herring vessels
that sail to Newfoundland.

There I saw rough times, I tell you,
when things looked rather blue,
Somehow I have been lucky
and always have got through;
I ain't no boast, however,
I won't say much, but then,
I wasn't easily frightened
like most of other men.

One night as we were sailing,
beware of land away,
I never shall forget it
until my dying day;
It was in our grand dog watches
I felt a chilly dread
Come over me as though I heard
one calling from the dead.

Right o'er our rail came climbing,
all silent, one by one,
A dozen hardy sailors,
just wait till I am done;
Their faces pale and sea-worn,
all ghostly through the night,
Each fellow took his station
as if he had a right.

They moved about together
till land did heave in sight,
Or rather, I should say so,
the lighthouse threw its light;
And then those ghostly sailors
all to the rail as one,
They vanished like the morning dew
after the rising sun.

Those were the same poor fellows,
I hope God blest their souls,
That our old craft run under
that night on Georges Shoals;
Well, now my song is ended,
it is just as I have said,
I do believe in spirits,
from that I'll not be led.

####.... Harry L Marcy (published in 1874 on pages 46-48 of Fisherman's Ballads And Songs Of The Sea by Procter Brothers, Gloucester Massachusetts) ....####

A variant was collected in 1950 from Morris Houlihan [1885-?] of Flatrock, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

MacEdward Leach also collected variants in 1951 from Mrs T Ghaney of Fermeuse, NL, published as Spirit Song On George's Banks and from Patrick (Pat) Critch [1882-1963] of Flatrock, NL, published as The Spirit Song On George's in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was also collected in 1959 from Alan MacArthur by Kenneth Peacock and published as The Ghostly Sailors in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.873-874, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.


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