The New Bedford Whaler
There was a 'Bedford Whaler put out to hunt for oil,
With a try-works in amidships where chunks of whale could boil,
And a fo'c's'le, wet and frowsy, where whalers' crews could gam,
And her captain came from 'Bedford and did not give a cent,
So over the bar from 'Bedford to hunt the whale she went.
But never a whale she sighted for eight and forty moons,
She never lowered her boats in chase nor reddened her harpoons,
So home she went to 'Bedford, where her owners came to ask,
"How many tons of whalebone, cap, and how much oil in cask?"
The captain turned his tobacco inside his weather cheek,
And he said "At least the Bible says, blessed are they who seek.
We've been at sea four years and more and never seen a whale,
We haven't a lick of oil on board but we've had a darned good sail."
- John Masefield, 1916