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Immortalized in song and story in the 19th century, the Bonnie Ship the Diamond is a traditional folk ballad penned to commemorate a whaling ship.

The song was popularized by Ewan MacColl and A.L. Lloyd in 1957. According to Lloyd in the liner notes for his album Leviathan in 1967, the Diamond sailed out of Peterhead beginning in 1825 and was one of many vessels in a fleet lost to the crush of ice floes in the Davis Straits in 1830. The Resolution and the Eliza Swan were also among such a fleet, with the Rattler of Leigh (not the Battler of Montrose as the some versions of the song suggest.) Lloyd claims the song must have only been written a season or two before the tragedy, given the timeline from the ship's maiden voyage to the disaster that claimed her.

Lyrics

These lyrics are based on the version performed by the Longest Johns in their livestreams, the original lyrics can be found here.


The Diamond is a ship, me lads, for the Davis Strait we're bound,
  the quay it is all garnished with bonnie lasses 'round;
  Captain Thompson gives the orders to sail the ocean wide,
  Where the sun it never sets, me lads, nor darkness dims the sky
 


  {Chorus}
  For it's cheer up me lads, let your hearts never fail,
  For the bonny ship, the Diamond, goes a-fishing for the whale.
 


  Along the quay of Peterhead, the lasses stand around,
  Wi' their shawls all pulled around their necks and the salt tears runnin' down;
  Well don't you weep, my bonny lass, though you'll be left behind,
  For the rose will bloom on Greenland's ice before we change our mind
 


  {Chorus}
 


  Here's a health to the Resolution, likewise the Eliza Swan,
  Three cheers to the Battler of Montrose and the Diamond, ship of fame;
  We wear the trousers of the white and the jackets of the blue,
  When we get back to Peterhead, we'll have sweethearts anew,
 


  {Chorus}
 


  It will be bright both day and night when Greenland lads come hame,
  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"
 


  {Chorus til Finish}
 


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