Oh, if I had the wings of a goney, boys,
I would spread 'em and fly home,
I would leave old Greenland's icy grounds
For the right whale here is none.
The weather's rough and the winds do blow
And there's little comfort here
And I'd sooner be snug in a Deptford pub
A-drinking of strong beer.
Oh, a man must be mad or wanting money bad
To venture catching whales
For he may be drowned when the fish turns around
Or his head smashed in by its tail.
Though the work seems grand to a young, green hand
And his heart is high when he goes
In a very short burst, he'd as soon as hear a curse
As the cry of 'There she blows.'
All hands on deck now, for God's sake
Move quickly if you can,
And he stumbles on deck so dizzy and so sick
For his life he don't give a damn.
High overhead the great flukes spread
And the mate gives the whale the iron
And soon the blood in a purple flood
From his spout all comes a-flying.
These trials we bear for nigh on four years
'Til our flying jib points to home
We're supposed for our toil to get a bonus on the oil
And an equal share of the bone.
We go to the agent to settle for our trip
And it's there we have cause to repent
For we've slaved away four years of our life
And we've earned about three pounds ten.