David Coffin

David Coffin

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Lyrics

Sovereign of the Seas

Written By: David Coffin

Sovereign of the Seas copyright: David Coffin June 17, 2002

Come all you hearty shellbacks and listen to my tale,
Of most majestic worthiness that ever defied a gale.
The greatest vessel of her kind that ever a man did see
She was the mighty clipper ship, The Sovereign of the Seas.

East Boston, eighteen fifty-two, in the yards of Donald McKay,
He built the biggest clipper ship to ever launch down the ways,
His reputation on the line, his money ventured too,
But he would laugh the last, he’d show them he was true.

Chorus:
She crossed the line and doubled the Horn, she lived to chase a breeze
She was the mighty clipper ship, The Sovereign of the Seas.

Her frame of seasoned white oak, her lines were sharp and long,
Her backbone, knees, and keelsons, she was so stout and strong
Two hundred sixty–five feet she reached from stem to stern,
Twelve thousand yards of canvas all for the wind did yearn.

With Neptune ‘neath the bowsprit she cut the waves so fine,
She swept in to New York, me boys, to work for the Swallow Tail Line.
No ship to date had stowed so much down in the hold.
Three thousand tons of goods below, took thirty days to load.

Chorus:
She crossed the line and doubled the Horn, she lived to chase a breeze
She was the mighty clipper ship, The Sovereign of the Seas.

The water-gazers all along the Battery did stare,
As she filled her sails to windward in the sunlight’s golden glare
Then outward bound for ‘Frisco and the screaming Westerlies
Across the line and round the horn through the roaring forties.

“The gale took half the rigging.” “We’ll fix it under way.
We’ll weather any sea,” the skipper did boldly say.
“Don’t mind the boarding combers as the solid green she ships,
We’ll throw up some more canvas then we’ll punch her through the rips.”

Chorus:
She crossed the line and doubled the Horn, she lived to chase a breeze
She was the mighty clipper ship, The Sovereign of the Seas.

Sailing into ‘Frisco Bay a hundred three days out,
The crowds along the waterfront, they shouted and danced about.
Payday brought a bonus for all the men on board,
A hundred thousand for the ship, that voyage’s reward.

Then to the Sandwich Isles for a load of oil and bone
8,000 barrels of whale oil, first clipper to bring it home.
82 days later, a record to New York,
She earned her keep for Donald MacKay, sailing from port to port.

Chorus:
She crossed the line and doubled the Horn, she lived to chase a breeze
She was the mighty clipper ship, The Sovereign of the Seas.

Leaving records in her wake, and cargo ‘round the world,
A ship ahead of her time, with all her sails unfurled,
From Bombay to Whampoa, London to Shanghai,
She flew across the waters, the world of sea and sky.

But under heavy canvas, she foundered in a gale,
She wrecked upon the Pyramid Shoals, and none to tell the tale.
T’was but her seventh summer, cut short her glorious reign,
But those who burn the brightest, oft flash the briefest flame.

Chorus:
She crossed the line and doubled the Horn, she lived to chase a breeze
She was the mighty clipper ship, The Sovereign of the Seas.

She crossed the line and doubled the Horn, she lived to chase a breeze
She was the mighty clipper ship, The Sovereign of the Seas.