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Lady Franklin's Lament For Her Husband

You Seamen bold, that have long withstood
Wild storms of Neptune's briny flood.
Attend to these few lines which I now will name,
And put you in mind of a Sailor's dream.

As homeward bound one night on the deep,
Slung in my hammock I fell asleep,
I dreamt a dream which I thought was true,
Concerning Franklin and his brave crew.

I thought as we neared to the Humber shore,
I heard a female that did deplore,
She wept aloud and seemed to say,
Alas ! my Franklin is long away.

Her mind it seemed in sad distress,
She cried aloud I can take no rest,
Ten thousand pounds I would freely give,
To say on earth that my husband lives.

Long time it is since two ships of fame,
Did bear my husband across the main,
With one hundred seamen with courage stout,
To find a north-western passage out.

With one hundred seamen with hearts so bold,
fear have perished in frost and cold,
Alas, she cried, all my life mourn,
Since Franklin seems never to return.

For since that time seven years are past,
And many a keen and bitter blast,
Blows o'er the grave where poor seamen fell,
Whose dreadful sufferings no tongue can tell.

To find a passage by the North Pole,
Where tempests wave and wild thunders roll,
Is more than any mortal man can do,
With hearts undaunted and courage true.

There's Captain Austen of Scarboro town,
Brave Granville and Penny of much renown,
With Captain Ross and so many more,
Have long been searching the Arctic shore.

They sailed east and they sailed west,
Round Greenland's coast they knew the best,
In hardships drear they have vainly strove,
On mountains of ice their ships were drove.

At Baffin's Bay where the whale fish blows,
The fate of Franklin nobody knows.
Which causes many a wife and child to mourn,
In grievious sorrow for their retain.

These sad forebodings they give me pain,
For the long lost Franklin across the main,
Likewise the fate of so many before,
Who have left their homes to return no more.


Many thanks to Dave de Hugard for sending me this broadside ballad.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory