Folk and Traditional Song Lyrics:
Slave Ship

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Slave Ship

Slave Ship

 The first grey dawn of the morning was beaming
 The bright rays shone forth the glad spirit of light
 The rising sun over the ocean was streaming
 And dispelled with his rays the dark shadows of night
 The air - oh, how pure, and the morning was mild
 And the waters lay hushed like a sleeping child
 What cheer, cried the mate, as he passed to and fro
 What cheer! Art thou watching? Is all right below?
 Alls right, cried a voice, the hatches are tight
 As the chains that are binding the slaves this night

 Up, up, with the flag, then let us away
 Spread the sails, 'tis a favouring wind
 And long ere the break of the morning we'll leave
 The coast of old Afric behind
 The moonlight will follow our track o'er the deep
 As we start through the sparkling wave
 For our cargo of blacks are all hushed in sleep
 As though they were hushed in the grave
 Then up with the anchor and let us away
 We dare not - we must not, now longer delay

 Gloomily still the captain with his arms upon his breast
 With his cold brow sternly knitted and iron lips compressed
 Are all well whipped below there? Ay! Ay! The seamen said
 Heave up the worthless lubbers - the dying and the dead

 Help, oh! thou God of Christians! Save a mother from despair
 Cruel white man sold my children - Oh, God of Christians hear my prayer!
 I'm young and strong and hardy - he's a sick and feeble boy
 Take me, whip me, chain me, starve me! Oh, God, in mercy, save my boy!

 The mother, my child - they've killed my child!
 They've killed shrieked - now all is o'er
 Down the savage captain struck her lifeless on the vessel's floor
 Shall outraged nature cease to feel? Shall mercy's tears no longer flow?
 Shall ruffians threat of cord and steed, the dungeon's gloom, the assasin's blo

 Shall tongues be mute when deeds are wrought? Shall freemen lock the midnight t
 Shall mercy's bosom cease to sigh, for women's shrieks - and slavery!
 Shall honour bleed, shall truth succumb, shall pen, and press, and soul be dumb
 Let every man arise to save from scourge and chain the Negro Slave

 Old England, sweet land of the fair and the free
 Whose house is the waters, whose flag sweeps the sea!
 Still stretch out thy hand o'er the ocean's broad wave
 Protecting the helpless unfortunate slave
 And nations which call themselves free shall repent
 Of thousands in pain to eternity sent!
 Each who forward the cause, oh the very of the grave
 With gale strength - the prayer of the liberated slave

Source: Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads
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