Cold Cold Coast of Greenland, The


This is a variation of a mid seventeenth century
naval war ballad, The Lowlands of Holland. A newly married couple is
torn apart by the practice of recruiting young men against their will,
and placing them in harms way on whaling vessels. As a result of losing
her husband, the young woman goes insane and vows never to enjoy the
pleasures of life again. The last verse is a common theme in Greenland
whaling songs.
Dm C
Last night I was a-married and on my marriage bed
Dm C Dm
There came a bold sea captain and he stood at my bed’s head
Dm C
Saying ‘Arise arise you brisk bonny lad and come along with me
Dm C Dm
To the cold cold coast of Greenland and the sperm whale fishery’

She held her love all in her arms a-thinking he might stay
Till the cru-el captain came again he was forced to go away
‘It’s many a bright and bold young man must sail this night with me
To the cold cold coast of Greenland and the sperm whale fishery’

Her love he went on shipboard and a lofty ship was she
With a score of bold young whaler men to bear him company
But the main mast and the riggin’ they lie buried in the sea
Off the cold cold coast of Greenland in the sperm whale fishery

Said the father to the daughter ‘What makes you so lament?
There’s many a lad in our town can give your heart’s content’
‘There is no lad in all our town, no lord nor duke said she
Can ease my mind now the stormy wind has claimed my love from me’

No shoe nor stocking I’ll put on nor comb go in my hair
Nor broad daylight nor candle light shall in my room appear
Nor shall I wed with any young man until the day I die
Now the cold cold coast of Greenland has parted my love and I

Oh Greenland is a dreadful place, a place that’s never green
It’s too wild a habitation for a lover to be in
Where the icebergs grow and the whales do blow and the sunset’s
never seen
And the cold cold coast of Greenland lies between my love and me

� 1998 McGuinn Music – Roger McGuinn