(Spoken)

Give us a wreck or two, good Lord;
Winter along this coast is hard.
Grey frost creeps like mortal sin,
No food in the larder, no bread in the bin.

One rich wreck is all we pray,
Busted abroad at break of day
Broken and splintered upon the reef,
Bread and wine to calm our grief.

Lord of rocks and tide and sky,
Heed our call, hark to our cry!
Bread by the bag, beef by the cask,
Food for poor hearts is all we ask.

(Sung)

On the skyline the tall ships sail by,
Bound for London, their decks piled high;
Fruits of warmer lands,
Passing through our hands,
So we look for the storm in the sky.

Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish ladies,
Farewell and adieu, you ladies of Spain;
We've received orders for to sail back to England,
We hope in a short time to see you again.

We'll rant and we'll roar like true British sailors,
We'll rant and we'll roar all on the salt sea.
Until we strike soundings in the channel of old England;
From Ushant to Scily is thirty five leagues.

We hove our ship to with the wind from the west, boys
Hove our ship to, deep soundings to take;
Thirty five fathoms, and a white sandy bottom,
We squared our main yard and the channel did make.

We'll rant and we'll roar like true British sailors,
We'll rant and we'll roar all on the salt sea.
Til we strike soundings in the channel of old England;
From Ushant to Scily is thirty five leagues.

Oh, the fishermen rise with the sun,
And they work ‘til the day’s nearly done,
Hauling empty nets,
While the cold sun sets,
And the winter is barely begun.
There’s a lighthouse a mile from the shore,
That the storm-weary sailors search for,
When the wind and rain
Bring their gales again,
It won’t shine for them anymore.

On the skyline the tall ships sail by,
Bound for London, their decks piled high;
Fruits of warmer lands,
Passing through our hands,
So we look for a storm in the sky.

Sweet thoughts of home came to me today,
Far too long now I’ve been away,
I’ll stay away no longer,
Come homeward winds, blow stronger.
Stronger…

I’m homeward bound…
I’m homeward bound…

With the first clear sight of the West Country shore,
We swear we won’t go to sea any more,
Sweethearts and wives seem dearer,
As the English shore draws nearer.

Now soon their welcome will warm winter’s heart,
We’ll vow nothing will pull us apart,
There’ll be a short time of plenty;
We’ll think again when our pockets are empty.

Now a grey storm blackens the clear Western skies,
Fear and welcome join both in our eyes,
Full sail and a straining main mast,
Run with the wind; we’ll fly while the storm lasts.
While the storm last.

I’m homeward bound…
I’m homeward bound…

As the rain blackened clouds gather round,
And the roaring gales drown every sound,
All eyes search the night
For that ray of light,
That warns where the black rocks are found.

I know this place, I know this place…
We’re running aground, we’re running aground, we’re running aground!

(Spoken)

One rich wreck, or maybe two,
Food and stores to see us through,
Til Spring leaps up like break of day
And fish return to the empty bay,

One rich wreck, for thy hand is strong,
A brig, or a merchant one from up along.
Caught on your twisted tides, good lord,
Drawn by our false lights to the shore.

(Sung)

I rose with the morning on a rain washed day,
Early and I walked along the shore;
Watching the broken splintered driftwood come in,
I listened to the ocean roar.
Town slowly waking and I walked from the sea,
Parents break in to their children’s dreams
Mothers start to call; fathers reach the stirring streets,
Wondering what another morning brings.

All they have to sell is the strength of two strong arms,
All they are standing in their shoes,
And the price of your labour in deep winter falls and falls,
Point came there was nothing left to lose.
We pay the price of winter, and we buy another year,
It’s time to search the heart and count the cost,
Take the guilty conscience, and the widow’s bitter tears,
And what we gain is someone else’s loss.

Yesterday the gales that shook the rooftop slates
Today the breeze gently tugs your hair
And the tide that closed its fist and snapped a broad ship’s back
Now softly takes the white gulls from the air,
Oh, the banker’s purse is like a deep black well
For every other well bred clown,
And the merchant has a fleetful of young men’s lives
He can risk one in twenty going down.

I rose with the morning on a rain washed day,
It was early and I walked along the shore;
I knelt down by the water where my brother lay,
I listened to the ocean roar.

We have families with sons on the sea,
They work the tall ships of the sea,
But our choice is made,
By these winter’s days,
And the children who watch from the quay.

That wild evening the word flew around,
A tall merchant mashed into the ground,
How we shout and sing,
Glad to greet the spring,
Though we weep for the sailors we’ve drowned.

On the skyline the tall ships sail by,
Bound for London, their decks piled high;
Fruits of warmer lands,
Passing through our hands,
So we look for a storm in the sky.

November wind chills to the bone,
And December rain lashes the stones,
Sea that brings us life,
Take your sacrifice,
And give back the hope to our homes.

On the skyline the tall ships sail by,
Bound for London, their decks piled high;
Fruits of warmer lands,
Passing through our hands,
So we look for a storm in the sky.

Oh, the fishermen rise with the sun,
And they work ‘til the day’s nearly done,
Hauling empty nets,
While the cold sun sets,
And the winter is barely begun.

On the skyline the tall ships sail by,
Bound for London, their decks piled high;
Fruits of warmer lands,
Passing through our hands,
So we look for a storm in the sky.

Oh, we look for a storm in the sky.
Oh, we look for a storm in the sky.
.


Lyrics submitted by Abspie, edited by reb01501

Tall Ships song meanings
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    General Commentold and new lyrics brought together into a patchwork looking at differing sides in the story of wreckers .
    SeaSalton May 04, 2016   Link

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