BALLAD OF YARMOUTH CASTLE


well it's four o'clock in the afternoon and the anchors have been weighed
from Miami to Nassau she's bound across the waves
she'll be heading south through Biscayne Bay into the open sea
Yarmouth Castle she is dying and don't know it

now the many years she's been to sea • she's seen the better times
she gives a groan of protest as they cast away her lines
and the grumble of her engines and the rust along her spine
tells the Castle she's too old to be sailing

but the sands run out within her heart • a tiny spark glows red
it smoulders through the evening • there's laughter overhead
now the men are served and the cards are dealt and the drinks are passed around
deep within the fire starts a-burning

now it's midnight on the open sea and the moon is shining bright
some people join the party and others say good night
there's many who are sleeping now • it's been a busy day
and a tiny wisp of smoke is a-rising

"Oh Lord" she groans "I'm burning! Let someone understand!"
but her silent plea is wasted in the playing of the band
everybody's dancing on her deck and they're having such a time
then a voice says "Shut up and deal, I'm losing"

deep within the Yarmouth Castle the fire begins to glow
it leaps into the hallways and climbs and twists and grows
and the paint she wore to keep her young oh Lord how well it burns
and soon that old fire is a-raging

up beneath the bridge it's climbing fast • the captain stands aloft
he calls up to the boatswain and says "Boatswain, we are lost!"
for the ragged hoses in the racks no pressure do they hold
and the people down below will soon be dying

all amidships she is blazing now • it's spreading fore and aft
the people are a-scrambling as the fire blocks their path
the evil smoke surrounds them and they're falling in their tracks
and the captain in his lifeboat is a-leaving

oh then the ship Bahama Star comes steaming through the night
she sees the Castle blazing and it's a terrible sight
"Jump down, jump down!" the captain cries • "We'll save you if we can!"
then the paint on his funnels is a-frying

"God help the ones who sleep below and cannot find the way!
Thank God for those we've rescued upon this awful day"
now the heroes they are many but the times are growing slim
and now from stern to bow she's a-blazing

Oh the Yarmouth Castle's moaning • she's crying like a child
you can hear her if you listen above the roar so wild
is she crying for the ones who lie within her molten sides?
or crying for herself ? I'm a-wondering

but the living soon were rescued • the ones who lived to tell
from the Star they watched her as she died there in the swells
like a toy ship on a mill pond she burned all through the night
then slipped neath the waves in the morning

                                                      gordon lightfoot