There was a ship and a ship of fame .
Launch'd off the stocks, bound to the main,
With a hundred and fifty brisk young men
Was picked and chosen every one.
William Glen was our captain's name.
He was a tall and brisk young man,
As bold a sailor as ever went to sea,
And he was bound to New Barbary.
The first of April when we did set sail,
Blest with a sweet and prosperous gale,
For we were bound to New Barbary
With all our whole ship's company.
We had not sailed a day but two
Till all our whole ship's jovial crew
They all fell sick but sixty-three,
As we went to New Barbary.
One night the captain he did dream
There came a voice which said to him,
"Prepare you and your company.
To-morrow night you must lodge with me."
This wak'd the captain in a fright,
Being the third watch of the night;
Then for his boatswain he did call,
And told to him his secrets all.
"When I in England did remain
The holy Sabbath I did profane;
In drunkenness I took delight,
Which doth my trembling soul affright.
"There's one thi?g more I'm to rehearse,
Which I shall mention in this verse,
A Squire I slew in Staffordshire
All for the love of a lady fair.
"Now 'tis his ghost, I am afraid,
That hath to me such terror bred;
Although the king has pardoned me,
He's daily in my company. "
"O worthy captain, since 'tis so,
No mortal of it e'er shall know;
So keep your secret in your breast,
And pray to God to give you rest."
They had not sailed a league but three
Till raging grew the roaring sea;
There rose a tempest in the skies
Which filled our hearts with great surprise.
Our mainmast sprung by break of day,
Which made our rigging all give way.
This did our seamen sore affright,
The terrors of that fatal night.
Up then spoke our foremost man
As he by the fore-yard did stand.
He cried, "The Lord receive my soul!"
So to the bottom he did fall.
The sea did work both fore and aft
Till scarce one sail on board was left;
Our yards were split and our rigging tore.
The like was never seen before.
The boastwain then he did declare
The captain was a murderer,
Which did enrage the whole ship's crew.
Our captain overboard they threw.
Our treacherous captain being gone,
Immediately there was a calm;
The winds did calm and the raging sea
As we went to New Barbary.
Now when we came to the Spanish shore
Our goodiy ship for to repair,
The people all were amazed to see
Our dismal case and misery.
But when our ship was in repair
To fair England our course did steer;
And when we came to London town
Our dismal case was then made known.
Now many wives their husbands lost,
Which they lamented to their cost,
And caused them to weep bitterly
These tidings from New Barbary.
A hundred and fifty brisk young men
Did to our goodly ship belong;
Of all our whole ship's company
Our number was but seventy-three.
Now seamen all, where'er you be,
I pray a warning take by me:
As you love your life, still have a care
You never sail with a murderer.
'Tis never more I do intend
For to cross over the raging main;
But I'll live in peace in my own country,
And so I end my tragedy.
From Ballads and Sea Songs from Nova Scotia, Mackenzie
Collected from Alexander Harrison