Wreck of the Northfleet or Farewell Wife Dearer Than Life

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First line 'A braver man that (sic) Captain Knowles, ne'er set a ship in motion'

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A braver man that (sic) Captain Knowles, ne'er set a ship in motion, -
The captain of the "Norhtfleet" who sailed the briny ocean,
In peaceful slumber for the night this emigrant vessel lay, -
With o'er four hundred souls on board, no listen to my lay,-
When up a foreign steamer with a coward captain came,
And struck her 'tween her mid-ships and rent the ship in twain,
"Lower the boats, ye mariners and for all mercy pray,
God bless and speed you safe to land" I heard the Captain say.

Chorus: Goodbye, dear wife, dearer than life,
                  Put trust in heaven's high hand.
                  Good boatswain save from a watery grave -
                  God speed you safe to land.

Yes, her name it was the "Northfleet", and bore, as we are told,
Three hundred British working men - of value more than gold -
Brave men who left their native land to till of foreign soil;
Poor honest hearts to earn their bread by daily sweat and toil.
Then read the poor wife's story, - for on that fatal night,
When all on board were fast asleep, (god heavens can that be right,
A fearful crash ! All souls did rush upon the deck to pray:
Yet calm and good, the captain stood, and this I heard him say, -

The ship was sinking rapidly, when passengers and tars,
And men and wives and children were seen clinging to broken sparsĀ¹;
And mighty waves rolled over them, as they prayed in frenzy wild,
The Captain's voice rang through the air, - "Save that poor wretch and child"!
But all was o'er; three hundred souls no human power could save,
Heart-rending sight as each good-bye skimmed o'er the mighty wave,
The noble Captain then went down, as the boats drifted away,
His beeath (sic), in whispered, reached us, when I thought I heard him say.

 

Sources (texts, music) & Publishing data

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Source Title Wreck of the Northfleet or Farewell Wife Dearer Than Life
Bargery Number 487
Roud V38071
Earliest Date 1873
Evidence for Earliest Date Date of event described
Related Songs ns009
Source of Text Bodleian Library, Harding B 11(4330)
Author Torr, Sam (1846-1899)
Music (Given or Suggested) No tune given
Source of Music No tune given
Music Notation No tune given
Performer Torr, Sam (1846-1899)
Printer or Publisher Unknown
Where Printed Unknown
First Line A braver man that (sic) Captain Knowles, ne'er set a ship in motion,
Parsed Title Wreck of the Northfleet or Farewell Wife Dearer Than Life

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