She went down last October in a pouring driving rain.
The skipper, he'd been drinking and the Mate, he felt no pain.
Too close to Three Mile Rock, and she was dealt her mortal blow,
And the Mary Ellen Carter settled low.
There were five of us aboard her when she finally was awash.
We'd worked like hell to save her, all heedless of the cost.
And the groan she gave as she went down, it caused us to proclaim
That the Mary Ellen Carter would rise again.

Well, the owners wrote her off; not a nickel would they spend.
She gave twenty years of service, boys, then met her sorry end.
But insurance paid the loss to them, they let her rest below.
Then they laughed at us and said we had to go.
But we talked of her all winter, some days around the clock,
For she's worth a quarter million, afloat and at the dock.
And with every jar that hit the bar, we swore we would remain
And make the Mary Ellen Carter rise again.

Rise again, rise again, that her name not be lost
To the knowledge of men.
Those who loved her best and were with her till the end
Will make the Mary Ellen Carter rise again.

All spring, now, we've been with her on a barge lent by a friend.
Three dives a day in hard hat suit and twice I've had the bends.
Thank God it's only sixty feet and the currents here are slow
Or I'd never have the strength to go below.
But we've patched her rents, stopped her vents, dogged hatch and
porthole down.
Put cables to her, 'fore and aft and birded her around.
Tomorrow, noon, we hit the air and then take up the strain.
And watch the Mary Ellen Carter Rise Again.

For we couldn't leave her there, you see, to crumble into scale.
She'd saved our lives so many times, living through the gale
And the laughing, drunken rats who left her to a sorry grave
They won't be laughing in another day. . .
And you, to whom adversity has dealt the final blow
With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go
Turn to, and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain
And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.

Rise again, rise again - though your heart it be broken
And life about to end
No matter what you've lost, be it a home, a love, a friend.
Like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.

Lyrics submitted by Chalissa

The Mary Ellen Carter song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI have loved this song for years. I first heard it at a pub in Pictou NS while sailing tallships.

    I think the last two verses say it all. Not matter what the cost, no matter what the view of others is. Stand up and do the right thing. Be accountable to what has done right by you.

    alhansonon May 14, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't think that you're supposed to know whether they succeeded. The point is that you will never know whether you will succeed unless you try. If you don't try, then you already failed.
    nicholas75on December 08, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI can't believe no one's commented on this song! This is definitely one of Stan's best-known songs, and for great reason: he takes the story of recovering a destroyed ship into a metaphor for overcoming challenges and adversity by believing in your own worth and, no matter what life throws at you, rising again.
    EastCoastGuy110on March 09, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentseems more like helping out someone who has helped you out for a long time, not helping yourself
    puberton September 24, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenta very inspiring song. It give me the spirit to not give up. One thing, did they succeed in raising her? To me, it seems to be an open ending.
    Denverfan1on June 03, 2013   Link

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