Fifteen Ships on Georges Bank

traditional

        Georges Bank is one of the great shoals off this coast. Once an abundant provider of fish, it can quickly become a lethal place in a gale. This is a true story of a winter gale that destroyed 15 schooners out of Gloucester, Massachusetts.

I pray you pay attention
And listen unto me
Concerning all those noble men
Who drownded in the sea.
‘Twas in the month of February
In 1862,
These vessels sailed from Gloucester
With each a hardy crew.

The course was East-South-East they steered,
Cape Ann being out of sight;
They anchored on the Banks that night
With everything alright.
But on the 24th, at night,
The wind come on to blow,
The seas rose up like mountain-tops,
Which proved their overthrow.

The thoughts of home and loving ones
Did grieve their hearts full sore,
For well convinced were all these men
They’d see their homes no more.
No tongue can ever describe the scene,
The sky was full of snow,
And fifteen ships did founder there
And to bottom go.

A hundred and forty-nine brave friends
Who lately left the land,
Now they sleep on George’s Bank,
In the rough and shifting sand.
One hundred and seventy children
These men have left on shore,
And seventy mournful widows
Their sorrows to endure.

So now, you’d think with gloomy thoughts,
As on life’s path you roam
Of many’s the happy hours and days
You’ve spent with them at home;
For you they left their native shore,
For you the seas did roam,
For love and duty called them forth
To leave their happy home.

So now, adieu to George’s Bank,
My heart it doth despise,
For many’s the gale I’ve seen out there,
And heard those widows cry.
And now I bid you all adieu,
Dry up your tearful eye;
Prepare to meet your God above
And dwell beyond the skies.

Fifteen Ships on Georges Bank is recorded on the CD Then and Now
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