"Ballad of Yarmouth Castle" as written by and Gordon Lightfoot....
Well, it's four o'clock in the afternoon
And the anchors have been weighed
From Miami to Nassau
She's bound across the waves

She'll be 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 sailin'

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 burning
Let someone understand"
But her silent plea is wasted
In the playin' of the band

Everybody's dancin' on her deck
And they're havin' such a time
And 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'

Up beneath the bridge it's climbin' fast
The captain stands aloft
He calls up to the boatswain, says
"Boatswain, 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 fallin' in their tracks
And the captain in his lifeboat is a-leavin'

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"
Then the paint on his funnels is a-fryin'

"God help the ones who sleep below
And cannot find the way
Thank God for those we rescue
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
From the Star they watched her
As she died there in the swells

Like a toy ship on a mill pond
She burned all through the night
Then slipped beneath the waves in the mornin'



Lyrics submitted by ButNeverOutgunned

"Ballad of Yarmouth Castle" as written by Gordon Lightfoot

Lyrics © Moose Music Ltd./Early Morning Music Ltd.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Ballad of Yarmouth Castle song meanings
Add your thoughts

2 Comments

sort form View by:
  • 0
    General CommentSS Yarmouth Castle was an old steamer lost in a disastrous fire in 1965.

    This song, just like Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, is a moving tribute to those lost in the sea but also the only song I know with the ship being main hero and also the only song treating shipwreck as a death of a ship.

    Listen to those words:

    "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 sailin'

    But the sands run out within her heart
    A tiny spark glows red
    It smoulders through the evening
    There's laughter overhead

    Now the men are served, and the cards are dealt
    And the drinks are passed around
    Deep within the fire starts a-burnin'"

    and

    ""Oh Lord," she groans, "I'm burning!"
    "Let someone understand!"
    But her silent plea is wasted
    In the playin' of the band"

    and especially

    "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'"

    every time I hear 'em they are bringing lump in my throat..........
    Kejton July 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell said. Who but Gordon Lightfoot could write a song making us feel empathy for the ship itself?

    The "moaning" of the ship during this disaster was reported by a number of witnesses and believed to be a result of steam escaping through the ship's whistle.
    PHRon September 13, 2012   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain