Soon May the Wellerman Come There was a ship that put to sea, And the name of the ship was the Billy of Tea The winds blew up, her bow dipped down, Oh blow, my bully boys, blow. cho: Soon may the Wellerman come And bring us sugar and tea and rum. One day, when the tonguing is done, I'll take my leave and go. She had not been two weeks from shore When down on her a right whale bore. The captain called all hands and swore He'd take that whale in tow. Before the boat had hit the water The whale's tail came up and caught her. All hands to the side harpooned and fought her When she dived down below. No line was cut, no whale was freed; The Captain's mind was not of greed, But he belonged to the whaleman's creed; She took the ship in tow. For forty days, or even more, The line went slack, then tight once more. All boats were lost (there were only four) But still the whale did go. As far as I've heard, the fight's still on; The line's not cut and the whale's not gone. The Wellerman makes his regular call To encourage the Captain, crew, and all. Recorded by Tommy Wood on "Song of a Young Country: New Zealand Folksongs." Weller Bros, of Sydney, Australia, were the major shore-whaling company in southern New Zealand in the 1830s and 40s. They had stations at Otakau (Dunedin), Tautuku, Bluff (and others). Over the years they had several ships, which serviced these stations - most notable, being the "Magnet" (Capt Bruce - good poem about her) and "Joseph Weller" (built here on Stewart Island). The "Wellerman" referred to is the boat/skipper bringing supplies to the stations, and taking away the oil accumulated since the last visit. BB RW
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