Whaling Shanty: Bonnie Ship the Diamond

Seamen on long voyages frequently sang shanties (or Chanties) both to alleviate the boredom of the long days, and to help keep the rhythm of a repetitive task.

For American Experience's Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World, actors performed the shanty Bonnie Ship the Diamond.

 

Bonnie Ship the Diamond

The Diamond is a ship, my lads
For the Davis Strait she’s bound
The quay it is all garnished
With bonnie lasses 'round
Captain Thompson gives the order
To sail the ocean wide
Where the sun it never sets, my lads
Nor darkness dims the sky

For it's cheer up my lads
Let your hearts never fail
For the bonnie ship the Diamond
Goes a-fishin for the whale

Along the quay at Peterhead
The lasses stand aroun
Wi' their shawls all pulled around them
And the saut tears runnin' down
Now don't you weep, my bonnie wee lass
Though ye be left behind
For the rose will bloom on Greenland's ice
Before we change our mind

For it's cheer up my lads
Let your hearts never fail
For the bonnie ship the Diamond
Goes a-fishin for the whale

Here's a health to the Resolution
Likewise the Eliza Swan
Here’s a health for the
Battler o'Montrose
And the Diamond, ship of fame
We wear the trousers o' the white
The jackets o' the blue
When we return to Peterhead
We'll have sweethearts enou'

For it's cheer up my lads
Let your hearts never fail
For the bonnie ship the Diamond
Goes a-fishin for the whale

So it will be bright both day and night
When the whalin’ lads come home
With ship full up with oil, boys
And money to our name
We'll make the cradles all to rock
And the blankets all to tear
And every lass in Peterhead sing
"Hushabye, my dear"

For it's cheer up my lads
Let your hearts never fail
For the bonnie ship the Diamond
Goes a-fishin for the whale

The Diamond is a ship, my lads
For the Davis Strait she’s bound
The quay it is all garnished
With bonnie lasses 'round
Captain Thompson gives the order
To sail the ocean wide
Where the sun it never sets, my lads
Nor darkness dims the sky

For it's cheer up my lads
Let your hearts never fail
For the bonnie ship the Diamond
Goes a-fishin for the whale

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Share Your Story

What impact do you think the whaling industry had on America and its economy? How do you think it shaped us as a nation? What do you believe is currently the industry that epitomizes the identity of America?



  • Additional funding for this program was provided by

  • Rosalind P. Walter
  • NEH