The Wreck of the Princess Alice

She sailed from the shores of Sheerness┬╣,
One eve of a bright Autumn day,
With one thousand souls, but few less,
And all were so joyous and gay;
As onward they steered for home,
They danced and sang many a strain.
Not thinking, while ploughing the foam,
That few would their homes see again.

Chorus :  Fearful to think of, sad to behold,
                  Our eyes fill with tears
                  When the story is told;
                  We long shall remember
                  The third of September,
                  And the wreck of the Princess Alice.

These people were never so gay,
Of danger had never thought less;
When, lo! there was heard with dismay.
A crush, and a cry of distress.
The laughter now turned to a shriek.
All merriment changed into strife;
And almost before they could speak,
They found themselves struggling for life.

It was a sad picture of pain,
For near to their friends and their home,
Six hundred were shrieking in vain,
And struggling like mad 'midst the foam.
Fond lovers to each other clasped,
Sons, mothers, and fathers beside;
And children, with toys tightly grasped,
All sank through the fast-running tide.

In this truly pitiful wreck.
Some wildly their lives tried to save,
While others remained on the deck.
Until she sank under the wave.
And scarcely five minutes had passed.
When such was her terrible doom,
Then o'er her the waters flowed fast.
And nothing remained but the gloom.

 

Sources (texts, music) & Publishing data

Origin Songster
Source Title The Wreck of the Princess Alice
Bargery Number 745
Roud Not in the Roud Index
Earliest Date 1878
Evidence for Earliest Date Date of the event described
Latest Date 1881
Evidence for Latest Date Publication date. The song was probably written soon after the event in 1878
Comments on Song It is unlikely that an American song writer would include a reference to Sheerness, a name which would have had no meaning to the average American. It is possible that the song is of British origin. The same volume includes 'Pretty Polly Perkins of Washington Square' which puts 'Pretty Polly Perkins of Paddington Green' {Roud 430} into an American setting .
Source of Text American Old Time Song Lyrics: 12 The Wreck Of The Princess Alice. www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/songster/12-the-wreck-of-the-princess-alice.htm. [accessed 06Aug2019]. The website cites the source as Wehman's Universal Songster - a unique collection of 61 volumes of Music Hall, Theater, Irish, Sentimental, Comic, Nostalgic, Inspirational & Historic Old Songs.[USA Library of Congress LCCN 94661996]
Music (Given or Suggested) No tune given
Where Printed New York
Other Imprints No other imprints found
First Line She sailed from the shores of Sheerness

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