Mudcat Café message #2964965 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #99752   Message #2964965
Posted By: maeve
14-Aug-10 - 06:32 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: The Wounded Whale (from Archie Fisher)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE WOUNDED WHALE (Archie Fisher)
Nice start, Guest Bob Soper. This is a tricky one to transcribe by ear! I've made a few adjustments for accuracy, album notes in hand.
Archie's liner notes are quoted, below.


The Wounded Whale*
(Archie Fisher)

Lo, as the sun from her ocean bed was rising,
Broad on the water her glittering light throws,
Hark, from the masthead our lookouts are crying:
"'Tis hard on your lee beam, a whale, there she blows!"

Call up your sleepers, your larboard and your starboardmen;
Main yard aback and your boats clear away,
For hard on our lee beam see the white water gleam,
Glittering and foaming in glorious array.

See the Leviathan in vastness is lying,
Making the ocean her sumptuous bed,
While high overhead the sea birds are flying,
Combing the billows that break o'er her head

High, wide and swimming, her dark flukes are flying,
Stately, but slowly, she sinks in the main.
Peak all your oars awhile, rest from your weary toil,
Watching and waiting her rising again.

Row, hearties, row for the pride of your nation,
Spring to your oars, let the reeking sweat flow!
Now for the blood, let it have circulation,
Forward on your thwarts, give away all you know.

See how the boats advance, gaily, as to a dance,
Floating like feathers over the dark blue sea.
Stand up and give her some, send both your irons home,
Stern off and trim your boat; we are all clear.

Wounded and sore, fins and flukes in commotion,
Blackskin and oars contending spray,
While loud, long and shrill blows the horn of the ocean.
Fretting and lost she brings to in dismay.

Haul line, every man, and gather in all you can.
Lances and spades from your thwarts clear away.
Now peak your oars again, while fast each boat remains,
For, safely and surely, we hold her at bay.

Surrounded by foes with strength undiminished,
Heed how she flashes her dark flukes in the air!
A lance in the life, and the struggle is finished;
See how she sinks with her chimney on fire.

While so loud & shrill are the cries from our seamen,
Mocking the whale in her terrible hour.
Watch her as she dies; see, the blue signal flies.
Here she goes, fin out, and the contest is o'er.
*From "The Man With a Rhyme" album notes Folk Legacy
Records CD 61, written by Archie Fisher: "Collated from two versions in Gale Hunting's Songs the Whalermen Sang, taken from the logs of the Maria (1846) and the Uncas (1843). The melody is a filleted, Dundee-influenced hybrid.
The song first came to my notice when I was browsing through Albe Dawson's library. I was very moved by the detailed and compassionate description of the kill, and borrowed the book so I could just let the song sink in slowly over a period of time. Forgive the "lump in my throat" style of singing over the last few verses."