Call of the Sea

Contemporary Maritime Ballad

Words and Music © Dean Calin; arranged for five voices by Jon Krivitzky

When I was a boy, a drayman’s son
I loved a girl so sweet and fair
I had no means to make her my own
And so this vow I did swear:

I will sail across the sea to raise a fortune for you to wed me.
Sword and shot are nothing, you see, until I come home to thee.

I sailed away, with Drake and my mates,
To give the Spaniard a living hell
A treasure was won, much silver and gold –
But then we sailed around the world!

A portrait of you was locked in my heart,
As we roved past those foreign shores;
Your beautiful eyes, your raven hair –
It was your smile that guided me home.

I will sail across the sea to raise a fortune for you to wed me.
Wind and wave are nothing, to me, until I come home to thee.

More than three years had finally gone by
When we to England were welcomed home
To my darling I strode, my sea-chest in tow
Our fortune secure, I’ll never more rove.

After two years this woman I loved
Had surely thought that I was done
Then at three years a husband she chose
To be a father to a son.

I will sail across the sea to raise a fortune for you to wed me.
Time and tide do not affect me, until I come home to thee.

All those long year spent fighting the sea,
Now all my dreams, like mist, are gone.
I bid you great joy with this man that you wed,
But the pain of your loss I cannot bear long.

A purse of gold coins and a single red rose
Is my parting gift to you, from me.
I’ll leave the dry land, a ship owner now:
If I can’t be with you I’ll marry the sea.

(Grand Chorus)
Oh, I sailed around the world to be by your side forever more
Fiddler’s Green is my final shore, my love forever gone.

I’ll sail across the sea to raise a fortune for you to wed me.
I’ll write you a song to remember me, until I come home to thee.


image of album cover for Bounding Main Lost at Sea - click for more info about the album

Song Notes

Dean writes, “I felt compelled to write this song after much research into the life of a sailor from Elizabethan times forward. Going to sea was often as good as a death sentence, and only the most desperate of men would voluntarily take the task if not schooled in maritime life from birth. The stories of sailors and their ridiculous wealth after capturing prizes is also compelling, and indeed must have been the lure to populate England’s sailing ships before crimps and press gangs moved the male citizenry from the port towns to Nelson’s navy.

“To wrap the irony of this story is the incomprehensible length of sea voyages, in particular Drake’s surreptitious global circumnavigation after one of his voyages against Spanish treasure ships – one could not simply call home to say you were on a trip! News of Drake’s voyage only came from rumors from court spies and military engagements and could only be trusted to a degree. Those were amazing times.

“And of course, this is a melancholy tale of deep and sincere love for a woman by a man who literally risked his life for his lady, but in doing so, lost her to time; an opportunity forever gone. All that was his mission in life vanished, his single purpose suddenly void; with only fate at fault.

“And Drake’s voyage only lasted two years, ten months and some-odd days; I took certain small license with the calendar for the sake of the song.

“My friend, Emily Rhode, helped me greatly by playing out random notes on a piano and writing down the sequences that I liked.  Jon Krivitzky helped my writer’s block by suggesting the ‘Fiddler’s Green is my final shore’ line.”