83 - The Bonnie Ship the Diamond

Words by Traditional
Tune by Traditional

By the 1820s the relativity milder northern waters were fished clean, and whalemen had to search in more distant corners of the Arctic, including Melville Bay in Northwest Greenland. In 1830, fifty British whaleships reached the grounds in early June, a month earlier than expected. The winds crowded the bay with ice floes and locked most of the fleet in, including the Diamond, the Resolution, the Rattler of Leigh (not Battler of Montrose), and the Eliza Swan. Twenty ships were crushed and many whalermen froze or drowned. The Eliza Swan was among those that got free and brought the sad news home.

The Diamond is a ship, my lads
For the Davis Strait we’re bound
The quay it is all garnished
With bonnie friends all round

Captain Thompson gives the order
To sail the ocean wide
Where the sun it never sets, my lads
Nor darkness dims the sky

For it’s cheer up my lads
Let your hearts never fail
For the bonnie ship the Diamond
Goes a-hunting for the whale

Along the quay at Peterhead
The lasses stand around
Wi’ their shawls all pulled around them
And the salt tears runnin’ down

Don’t you weep, my bonnie wee lass
Though you be left behind
For the rose will grow on Greenland’s ice
Before we change our mind

For it’s cheer up my lads
Let your hearts never fail
For the bonnie ship the Diamond
Goes a-hunting for the whale

Here’s a health to the Resolution
Likewise the Eliza Swan
Three cheers for the Battler of Montrose
And the Diamond, ship of fame

We wear the trousers of the white
The jackets of the blue
When we get back to Peterhead
We’ll have full pockets too

For it’s cheer up my lads
Let your hearts never fail
For the bonnie ship the Diamond
Goes a-hunting for the whale

It will be bright both day and night
When the Greenland lads come home
Our ship full up with oil, my lads
And money to our name

We’ll make the cradles for to rock
And the blankets for to tear
And every lass in Peterhead sing
“Hushabye, my dear”

For it’s cheer up my lads
Let your hearts never fail
For the bonnie ship the Diamond
Goes a-hunting for the whale