Bonnie Ship the Diamond

Maritime-themed Song


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;
Captain Thompson gives the order to sail the ocean wide,
Where the sun it never sets, my lads, no darkness dims the sky,

So it’s cheer up my lads, let your hearts never fail,
While the bonny ship, the Diamond, goes a-fishing for the whale.

Along the quay at Peterhead, the lasses stand aroon,
Wi’ their shawls all pulled around them and the salt tears runnin’ doon;
Don’t you weep, my bonny lass, though you be left behind,
For the rose will grow on Greenland’s ice before we change our mind. (Chorus)

Here’s a 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 trouser o’ the white and the jackets o’ the blue,
When we return to Peterhead, we’ll hae sweethearts anoo, (Chorus)

It’ll be bricht both day and nicht when the Greenland lads come hame,
Wi’ a ship that’s fu’ of 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” (Chorus)

Song Notes

This is a popular maritime-themed song, often confused with being a sea shanty.  However, it is not recorded in four primary shanty music resources:  The Shanty Book by Richard Runciman Terry, Songs of American Sailormen by Joanna C. Colcord, Songs of the Sailor and Lumberman by William Main Doerflinger nor Shanties from the Seven Seas by Stan Hugill.

Dean says, “My first experience with this song was a Star Trek/Sci-Fi-themed use of the tune by Leslie Fish on her “filksong” album, “Folk Songs for Folk Who Ain’t Even Been Yet.”

The liner notes on Blow the Man Down featuring “A.L. Lloyd & chorus” share a story about a twenty ship whaling fleet disaster which narrowed down the writing of this song to be between 1825 and 1830.

The song has also been recorded by The Corsairs, Slogm√•kane, and Nelson’s Blood, among others.