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BALLAD OF YARMOUTH CASTLE (Gordon Lightfoot) As recorded Gordon Lightfoot 1969 Well, it's four o'clock in the afternoon The anchors have been weighed >From Miami to Nassau She's bound across the waves. She's a-headin' south through Biscayne Bay Into the open sea Yarmouth Castle, she's a-dyin' 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 smolders through the evening There's laughter overhead. Now the dinner's served and the cards are dealt And the drinks are passed around Deep within the fire starts a-burnin'. Now it's midnight on the open sea And the moon is shinin' bright Some people join the party And others say goodnight. There's many who are sleepin' now It's been a busy day And a tiny wisp of smoke is a-risin'. "Oh Lord," she groans, "I'm burnin'!" "Let someone understand" But her silent plea is wasted In the playin' of the band. Everybody's dancin' on the deck And they're havin' such a time Then a voice says "Shut up and deal, I'm losin'". 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-ragin'. Well beneath the bridge, it's climbin' fast The captain stands aloft He calls up to the bosin Says "Bosin, we are lost". For the ragged hoses in the racks No pressure do they hold And the people down below will soon be dyin'. All amidships, oh she's blazin' now It's spreadin' fore and aft The people are a-scramblin' 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-leavin'. (bridge) Oh then the ship, Bahama Star Comes steamin' through the night She sees the Castle blazin' And 'tis a terrible sight. "Jump down, jump down" the captain cries "We'll save you if we can" And the paint on his funnels is a-fryin'. "God help the ones who sleep below And cannot find their way Thank God for those we've rescued Upon this awful day". Now the heroes, they are many But the times are growin' slim And now from stern to bow she's a-blazin'. Oh the Yarmouth Castle's moanin' She's cryin' like a child You can hear her if you listen Above the roar so wild. Is she cryin' for the ones who lie Within her molten sides Or cryin' for herself, I'm a-wonderin'. But the livin' soon were rescued The ones who lived to tell And from the Star they watched her As she died there in the swells. Like a toy ship on a millpond She burned all through the night Then slipped beneath the waves in the mornin'. (Transcribed by David Story - April 2013)


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