54 - The Mariner's Dream

Words by Rosie Sharkey
Tune by Traditional

A sentimental song sung by a mother to her sailor son. The words are based on a poem published in La Belle Assemblée, or Bell's Court and Fashionable Magazine Addressed Particularly to the Ladies, in 1807. The tune is pretty close to The Blackest Crow.

In midnight sleep, the sailor boy lay
His hammock swang loose in the wind
But watch-worn weary, his cares slipped away
And sweet dreams rose into his mind

My sailor boy, I wish you sweet sleep
As you’re rocked by the waves so deep
My sailor boy come safely home
Come safely home to me

He dreamt of his childhood home far away
His parents’ fond smiles of delight
The sweetheart who’s waiting for him some day
Her green eyes shining bright

The sleeper’s heart beats fast in his chest
As the stars light heaven’s dome
And a murmur of longing steals through his rest
‘Oh God, lead me home to them, please send me home.’

But what’s this flame that blinds his eye?
And what is this thunder that deafens his ear?
Is it lightning painting bright hell on the sky?
Or the roar of the cannon that all sailors fear?

He leaps from his hammock, he flies to the deck
Bells toll as he hears the watch crier
Wild winds and great waves drive the vessel a wreck
The masts fly in splinters, the shrouds are on fire

Oh sailor boy, doomed there to stay
Unblessed, drowned deep in the main
Full many a score fathom your flesh shall decay
Unmarked by a stone or bright candle flame

Sea foam will be your winding sheet
And seabirds’ cries soothe your long sleep
On sea grass rest your weary feet
And round your white bones red coral will creep