Gordon Lightfoot - Ballad Of Yarmouth Castle
Ballad Of Yarmouth Castle
Well, it's four o'clock in the afternoon.
The anchors have been weighed.
From Miami to Nassau
She's bound across the waves.
She's a-headin' south through Biscayne Bay
Into the open sea.
Yarmouth Castle she's a-dyin' and don't know it.
Now the many years she's been to sea
She's seen the better times.
She gives a groan of protest
As they cast away her lines.
And the grumble of her engines
And the rust along her spine
Tell the Castle she's too old to be sailin'.
But the sands run out within her heart,
A tiny spark glows red,
Smoulders through the evening.
There's laughter overhead.
Now the dinner's served, and the cards are dealt,
And the drinks are passed around.
Deep within the fire starts a-burnin'.
Now it's midnight on the open sea
And the moon is shinin' bright.
Some people join the party
And others say good-night.
There's many who are sleepin' now,
It's been a busy day.
And a tiny wisp of smoke is a-risin'.
"Oh Lord," she groans, "I'm burnin'!
Let someone understand!"
But her silent plea is wasted
In the playin' of the band.
Everybody's dancin' on her deck
And they're havin' such a time.
Then a voice says,
"Shut up and deal, I'm losin'."
Deep within the Yarmouth Castle
The fire begins to glow.
It leaps into the hallways
And climbs and twists and grows.
And the paint she wore to keep her young,
Oh Lord, how well it burns.
And soon that old fire is a-ragin'.
Up beneath the bridge it's climbin' fast.
The captain stands aloft.
He calls up to the boatswain, says,
"Boatswain, we are lost.
For the ragged hoses in the racks
No pressure do they hold.
And the people down below
Will soon be dyin'."
All amidships oh she's blazin' now.
It's spreadin' fore and aft.
The people are a-scramblin'
As the fire blocks their path.
The evil smoke surrounds them
And they're fallin' in their tracks.
And the captain in his lifeboat is a-leavin'.
Oh then the ship Bahama Star
Comes steamin' through the night.
She sees the Castle blazin'
And it is a terrible sight.
"Jump down, jump down!" the captain cries,
"We'll save you if we can!"
And the paint on his funnels is a-fryin'.
"God help the ones asleep below
And cannot find the way!
Thank God for those we rescue
Upon this awful day."
Now the heroes, they are many,
But the times are growin' slim.
And now from stern to bow
Oh the Yarmouth Castle's moanin',
She's cryin' like a child.
You can hear her if you listen
Above the roar so wild.
Is she cryin' for the ones who lie
Within her molten sides,
Or cryin' for herself, I'm a-wonderin'?
But the livin' soon were rescued,
The ones who lived to tell.
And from the Star they watched her
As she died there in the swell.
Like a toy ship on a mill pond
She burned all through the night.
And slipped 'neath the waves
In the mornin'.