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Ballad of Richard Parker – Jeff Henry 2006

In prison cold I am bound to stay,

To think and rue on that dreadful day,

My nights of anguish, my days so drear,

As I recall what brought me here.

 

Old Thomas Dudley it is my name,

A bold sea captain of gallant fame,

My friends and family I left behind,

To cross the ocean with a favouring wind.

 

When we set sail so free from care,

With courage bold, and the weather fair,

To ride the tradewinds to Australia's shore

For a hundred pounds, and a hundred pounds more.

 

My gallant shipmates I'll now relate,

Brave Edwin Stephens, the finest mate,

And Edmund Brooks I did employ,

With Richard Parker, our cabin boy.

 

The voyage pleasant, and the weather kind,

We sailed the ocean with contented minds,

Till a heavy gale turned us round and round,

And the sea did boil, and our ship went down.

 

So in a small boat we climbed so brave,

And prayed to God our souls to save,

For nineteen days on that ocean swell,

With nought to drink in that watery hell.

 

And we three men, all with families fair,

Facing starvation in that salty air,

And Richard Parker, so close to death,

He lay in that small boat, with scarce a breath.

 

With heavy heart my penknife drew,

And prayed to God that my hand be true,

Young Richard Parker, his blood did pour,

That we three sailors see our children once more.

 

Those days of torment, they numbered five,

As poor young Parker kept us alive,

Till a handsome barque we wretches bore,

And brought us safely to old England's hore.

 

Though we were guilty of deeds profound,

All to the gallows we were not bound,

The judge with pity decreed clemency

To save us from the hanging tree.

 

Six months detention we were sentenced then,

All for the slaying of that poor young man,

Who breathed his last, his comrades to save,

God rest his soul in his Peartree grave.