The Dreadnaught
Forebitter/Fo'c'sle Song or Capstan Shanty

Traditional. Arrangement by Bounding Main.


We're singing this in Cm
Here's of a packet a packet of fame,
She sails from New York and the Dreadnought's her name.
'Cross the wild western ocean she's bound for to go;
She's the Liverpool packet, oh Lord, let her go!

Derry down, down, down derry down

Oh, the Dreadnought is lying in the river Mercey,
Waiting for the Independence to tow her to sea.
All around that rock light where the salt tides do flow,
Bound away in the Dreadnought to the westward we'll go.  (Chorus)

Now the Dreadnought's a-howling down the wild Irish Sea,
Her passengers merry, and the drink is so free;
The sailors, like lions, walk the decks to and fro.
Bound away in the Dreadnought to the westward we'll go.  (Chorus)

The Dreadnought's a-sailing the Atlantic so wide,
Where the high, rolling seas roll along her black sides.
The sails tightly set for the Red Cross to show,
She's the Liverpool Packet, oh Lord, let her go!  (Chorus)

Now the Dreadnought is sailing by the banks of Newfoundland,
Where the water's so green and the bottom is sand;
The fishes all sing as they swim to and fro,
Saying:  "God bless the Dreadnaught where 'ere she may go!"  (Chorus)

Here's health to the Dreadnought and all her brave crew;
To old Captain Samuels and his officers true.
Talk about your flash packets, Swallowtail and Black Ball,
But the Dreadnought's the ship that can out-sail them all.  (Chorus)

For a great insight to this song, see this article in Simply Australia, titled "The Waterwitch."

"As a Forebitter the last line of each verse [Derry down . . .] would often be sung in chorus, but when used as a shanty at the capstan this chorus would be added:

Bound away! Bound away!  where the wide [wild] waters flow,
Bound away to the west'ard in the Dreadnaught we'll go!

"This Forebitter was often sung, with the inconsequence typical of seamen, to the tune of another Forebitter called "The Dom Pedero."

"The Dreadnaught was a flash American clipper packet launched in 1853 and she was famous for her many smart passages across the Atlantic.  As Hugill notes, she was the Liverpool packet, not a Liverpool packet, meaning she did not hail from Liverpool, but traded there.  She was shipwrecked in 1869 while rounding Cape Horn."

Stan Hugill, Shanties from the Seven Seas
Quoted from the wonderful web site Cantarea

The river Mercey is still very active