A VOYAGE OF DISASTER
Arthur Helliar & Cuthbert Clarke
Don't talk to me of the ocean!
Don't talk to me of the sea.
I've done with the briny for ever!
Dry land in the future for me.
But what brought things fair to a crisis,
Was the luck as we 'ad the last trip.
From the moment we fust left the harbour,
There was nuffink went right on the ship.
She was launched on a Friday to start with,
But that ain't the west, as you'll 'ear
The owner, 'im being tee-tota...l
'ad 'er christened with ginger beer.
Stone ginger, a penny a bottle!
Not even with dry ginger ale,
No wonder as luck was agen us!
It's surprisin' I'm telling the tale.
From the fust things went reg'lar contrary
As soon as the anchor was weighed.
Tho' the tug was a-pullin' and strainin'...
Not a hinch of the voyage she made.
0' course we all thought as she'd grounded,
But the stoutest 'eart quailed when we found
Tho' she'd not move ahead or astern sir,
She'd spin like a top round and round!
You'll 'ardly believe what 'ad 'appened!
Why, when they was fixing the mast,
They'd druv it right down thro' the keel, sir,
And into the mud it had passed.
And there we was fixed on a pivot,
As was sticking yards deep in the sludge,
So you'll own as it wasn't surprisin',
As the tug couldn't get us to budge.
They fixed it agen right and proper,
And we got down as far as the Nore,
Where the tug boat o' course went and left us
And we fancied our troubles was o'er.
But that's where we made a slight error,
For the skipper the crew loudly hails,
And tells 'em to jump and look lively
And set to a-'oisting the sails.
"Aye, aye, sir!" says we, and the bo'sun
And the mate up aloft took a gaze
And the langwidge they used I shall never forget
If I live till the end o' my days.
Then we squints aloft... as was nat'ral,
And wot d'yer think as we find
There wasn't no sails there to 'oist, sir,
We'd been and we'd left 'em behind!
They'd all been took off don't yer see, sir,
At the time as the mast was unshipped,
And the fact as they 'adn't replaced 'em,
From ev'ryone's mind must ha' slipped
So we has to be towed back to London,
And there was our sails on the quay
And the captain 'e kept out o' sight sir,
Till once more we was off to the sea.
For a fortnight the weather kept misty,
And the skies was the colour o' lead.
Not a sight o' the sun to be 'ad, sir,
Not a glimpse o' the stars over-head.
Sou' west was the course by the compass,
But owin' d'yer see to the fog,
We was feeling our way very careful
Dead reck'ning, it's called, with the log.
And the weather as should 'ave got milder,
Grew colder each day it was plain,
But we sighted some land tho' one mornin',
Wot the skipper 'e fancied was Spain.
He looked for a bit thro' 'is glasses,
And the mate took a squint at it too.
There was mountains all covered with snow, sir,
And h'ice as was plain to view.
"I never see Spain look like that, sir."
Says the mate, "it's too snowy by far!
"We'd best send a boat to the 'arbour
And ask where the dickens we are!"
The boat wasn't long in returning,
And the men were all grinning we saw,
Wot set our old man fairly raving
As wasn't sweet tempered afore.
"Where the blazes" 'e yells, "'ave we got to
Is it Spain or Gibraltar, or what?"
"It's H'iceland" the mate says respectful
"That's the nearest to Spain as we've got!"
The old man... but I can't do fair justice
To the words wot come out of his mouth,
For a fortnight our course 'ad been North sir,
When it should ha' lain pretty near South.
But it wasn't 'is fault after all though,
For the sun soon a-shining we found
As the man wot 'ad fixed up the compass,
'E'd shoved on the card, wrong way round.
We'd several mishaps arter that sir,
But nuffink as mattered to me.
Though a thing as we found out at Melbourne,
Might have worried the owner maybe.
As soon as we took off the 'atches,
The bosun 'e says, "Well I'm blowed!"
Strike me pink!... if the 'old wasn't empty
The cargo 'ad never been stowed!