Ballad of Yarmouth Castle

Gordon LightfootBuy this song

Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Meredith Lightfoot, Jr. CC OOnt (born November 17, 1938) is a Canadian singer-songwriter who achieved international success in folk, folk-rock, and country music, and has been credited for helping define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s. He has been referred to as Canada's greatest … more »

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 © Moose Music Ltd./Early Morning Music Ltd.

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"Ballad of Yarmouth Castle Lyrics." STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 23 Jun 2017. <>.

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Ballad of Yarmouth Castle