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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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The Wreck of the Asia

Loud raged the dreadful tumult,
And stormy was the day,
When the Asia left the harbour,
To cross the Georgian Bay.

One hundred souls she had on board,
Likewise a costly store;
But on this trip, this gallant ship
Did sink to rise no more.

With three and thirty shanty men
So handsome, stout and brave,
Were bound for Collin's Inlet
But found a watery grave.

Of all the souls she had on board,
Two only are alive;
Miss Morrison and Tinkiss,
Who only did survive.

Miss Morrison and Tinkiss,
Their names I'll ne'er forget,
Protected by a lifeboat
Which five times did upset.

. . .

The cabin boy next passed away,
So young, so true, so brave;
His parents weep while his body sleeps
In Georgian's watery grave.

And likewise Billy Christie,
With his newly wedded bride,
Were bound for Manitoulin
Where the parents did reside.

"Oh, had we only left this boat,
Last eve at Owen Sound!
Oh Willie dear, why came you here
To in these waters drown?"

. . .

The men cried, "Save the captain,"
As the waters round him raged;
"Oh, no," cried he, "Ne'er think of me
Till all on board [are] saved."

. . .

Around each family circle,
How sad the news to hear,
The foundering of the Asia
Left sounding in each ear.

 

Submitter comment:

This ballad, inspired by the sinking of the Asia in 1882, was printed anonymously in a local newspaper, and sung for years thereafter by sailing crews (Ratigan). The dots indicate where the author apparently has omitted verses.

Data entry tech comment:

From William Ratigan's "Great Lakes Shipwrecks and Survivals," p. 89.

Where learned: Great Lakes Shipwrecks and Survivals

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Ballad Epic

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