The Bonnie Ship has been widely sung in clubs across the country for many years. But despite its familiarity we were taken by the melody and the story surrounding the Diamond. Along with several other whaling ships, it was caught in the Arctic ice and was unable to break free. The crew had to burn the ship’s timber and sleep beneath the sail canvas while they awaited their fate. Only one ship managed to escape which is how we know of this tragic ending. Like Hold the Lantern High, the song tells of the worry of sailors leaving land and the nervous wait for those left behind.
The Bonnie Ship The Diamond (Roud 2172)
The Diamond is a ship, my lads, for the Davis Strait she's bound,
And the quay it is all garnished with bonny lasses 'round.
The captain gives the order to sail the ocean wide,
Where the sun it never sets, my lads, nor darkness dims the sky.
Chorus (after each verse):
And it's cheer up my lads, let your hearts never fail,
For the bonny ship, the Diamond, goes a-fishing for the whale.
Along the quay at Peterhead, the lasses stand around,
Their shawls all pulled about them and the salt tears running down.
Now don't you weep, my bonny wee lass, though you'll be left behind,
For the rose will bloom on Greenland's ice before we change our mind.
Here's health to the Resolution, likewise the Eliza Swan,
Here's a health to the Battler of Montrose and the Diamond, ship of fame.
We wear the trousers of the white, the jackets of the blue,
When we get back to Peterhead, we'll have sweethearts anew.
Be bright both day and night when the Greenland lads come home,
A ship full up with oil, my lads, and money to our name.
We'll make the cradles for to rock and the blankets for to tear,
And every lass in Peterhead sing, “Hushabye, my dear.”