The Longest Song Wiki

Often mistaken as a traditional song with a long history, this Stan Rogers original was written in 1976. It has been covered by countless folk artists. The tune is viewed as an unofficial anthem for the East Coast of Canada, where it can be found sung in pubs and university bars.

The song is set in the height of the American revolution, with the ship and its crew taking the role of Privateers for the British crown against the Americans.

It bears note that it is traditional to sing the the refrain "How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now" in the style of Rogers, adding a "whoop" after the "now".

Lyrics

These lyrics are based on the version performed by the Longest Johns in their Livestreams, their performance remains faithful to the Stan Rogers original.

Oh the year was seventeen-seventy-eight
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now!
When a letter of marque came from the King
To the scummiest vessel I've ever seen

God Damn them all! I was told
We'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns, shed no tears
Now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's privateers.

Oh Elcid Barrett cried the town,
(how I wish I was in Sherbrooke now!)
For twenty brave men, all fishermen, who
Would make for him the Antelope's crew

{Chorus}
God Damn them all! I was told
We'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns, shed no tears
Now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's privateers

The Antelope sloop was a sickening sight.
(how I wish I was in Sherbrooke now!)
She'd a list to port and her sails in rags,
And a cook in the scuppers with staggers and jags.

{Chorus}

On the King's birthday we put to sea.
(how I wish I was in Sherbrooke now!)
We were ninety-one days to Montego bay,
Pumping like madmen all the way.

{Chorus}

On the ninety-sixth day we sailed again.
(how I wish I was in Sherbrooke now!)
When a bloody great Yankee hove in sight
With our cracked four-pounders we made to fight

{Chorus}

The Yankee lay low down with gold.
(how I wish I was in Sherbrooke now!)
She was broad and fat and loose in stays,
But to catch her took the Antelope two whole days

{Chorus}

Then at length we stood two cables away.
(how I wish I was in Sherbrooke now!)
Our cracked four-pounders made an awful din,
But with one fat ball the Yank stove us in

{Chorus}

The Antelope shook and pitched on her side.
(how I wish I was in Sherbrooke now!)
Barrett was smashed like a bowl of eggs,
And the maintruck carried off both me legs.

{Chorus}

So here I lay in my twenty-third year.
(how I wish I was in Sherbrooke now!)
It's been six years since we sailed away,
And I just made Halifax yesterday.

{chorus til finish}