The Loss of the Scotch Patrick
In September 11th the Scotch Patrick set sail
From Gravesend with a pleasant gale
With emigrants for Auckland bound
Four hundred and seventy-four all told.
The ship had been two months at sea
Soon in New Zealand they hoped to be.
The emigrants to bed retired
And soon they were raised with the cries of fire.
With frantic cries they rent the air
They rushed on deck, no help was there.
All through the ship the flames did sweep
And many plunged into the deep.
Women screamed and tore their hair
Strong men weeped in deep despair
Mothers in their distress cried wild
Save, oh save my darling child..
The captain and his loving wife
Jumped in the water to end their life
And in eight hours the ship went down
Amidst fearful cries and burning sounds.
One of her boats got clear away
With thirty souls on board that day
But alas, alas no tongue can tell
The horror that on that crew fell.
Not a drop of water had they got
Nor a romance of food was in the boat [ie, an ounce]
With pious moans they for water cried
And one by one they dropped and died.
The remaining few with hunger mad
Eat the dead bodies and drank their blood.
The British Sceptre of Dundee
Saw the boat draft on the sea.
They picked them up while tears did flow
As they listened to their tale of woe.
Three out of four hundred and seventy-four
Were all that lived to reach the shore.
All you who live at home at ease
And do not know the dangers of the sea
Through storms from above and rough seas from below
One hour of safety you seldom know.
But He who rules both sea and land
And holds the water in His hand
Can call together the dead from their graves
And claim his own from the ocean wave.
note: The fire on the Cospatrick was off the Cape of Good Hope, 11/18/1874:
472 died, 3 anthropophagi survived. Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection,
32,. No tune given