Harbo and Samuelson (Jerry Bryant) In Brooklyn, New York at the turn of the century Lived two young Norwegians so brave and so bold Frank Samuelson only half way through his twenties George Harbo had just become thirty years old. Now Harbo had spent all his life on the water He shipped in square riggers when only a lad His partner likewise was no stranger to workin' No matter the task he gave all that he had. That year a rich publisher offered a challenge That men in a vessel no matter the size Couldn't cross the Atlantic without steam or canvas Ten thousand dollars he named as a prize Now dredgin' up oysters by hand is no picnic And these two Norwegians were tough as a whip. Says Frank "If we row only four miles an hour in fifty-four days we could finish the trip." cho: "We'll see you in France or we'll see you in Heaven!" Cried Harbo and Samuelson out on the bay Two hardy young oystermen after adventure And no one believed they could row all the way. Obtaining a sponsor they started their training They ordered a dorry of cedar and oak Just eighteen feet long with a draft of eight inches And Fox was the name of their cockle-shell boat. On the sixth day of June eighteen ninety and six Messers Harbo and Samuelson started to row They took food and water to last until August And the newspapers said they were foolish to go cho: From the slips of Manhattan they rowed through The Narrows Out onto the gulf stream and over the deep Each day they would row eighteen hours together At night they took turns gettin' three hours sleep Their stove wouldn't light so they ate cold provisions Their arms and their legs became swollen and cramped The odd passing vessel that took them on board Was their only relief from the cold and the damp. Then out on the Grand Banks the weather attacked them The wind humped the water into mountainous waves They lashed down their oars and tied on their lifelines And prayed they were not goin' straight to their graves. cho: Then out of the dark came a monstrous wave Capsizin' the Fox and her terrified crew Their lifelines held fast but they lost half their water And most of their food it was swept away too. They carefully rationed the little remaining Praying for help as they rowed o'er the brine Then out in the distance they spied a tall ship With the colors of Norway a-floatin' behind. The captain could not be convinced they weren't crazy But he gave them supplies and they went on their way. By the lines on the charts they were half way to Eurpore But now they must row sixty miles every day. cho: The weather held fair and the two men kept pullin' All through each long day and far into each night Then early one morning before the sun rose Out on the horizon they spotted a light. On August the first they made land off St Mary's On the south coast of England just by Bishop's Rock In amazement the townsfolk gathered down by the water Where Harbo and Samuelson barely could walk. Most men would have stopped then and basked in the glory After having been sun-beaten, capsized and starved But they were both back in the boat the next morning And in less than a week they arrived at La Havre cho: So those of you listening who yearn for adventure Like Harbo and Samuelson so long ago Like them be prepared for the task you are facing They were not only brave but, by God!, they could row! "We'll see you in France or we'll see you in Heaven!" Cried Harbo and Samuelson out on the bay. Two hardy young oystermen after adventure And no one believed they could row all the way. copyright Jerry Bryant recorded by William Pint and Felicia Dale on PORT OF DREAMS note: A true story. For a followup, see the Ballad of Lewis Mills EGH OCT98
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