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But For The Grace

Words and Music by Ben Scott (c) 2014

Verse 1
I set out from Belfast town, an immigrant for to be
On a vessel called the Dunbar on the best fare I could buy
We were for to see the world my little wooden chest and I
And going where they say there’s naught but sea and sun-drenched sky
Well the first leg of our journey took us to auld Liverpool
Crammed aboard a steamer bound across the Irish Sea
And the captain he seemed mindful of the threat of foul weather
And he scorned fare weather sailors as we struck out from the quay

Chorus
Out from the low familiar shoreline
Where the gulls and swallows fly
The chill foam, so far from home
But for the grace go I

Verse 2
Well the captain he seemed accurate on two points at the least
For the wind came up most dreadful on our steady passage east
And more than one or two of us I’m shamed enough to say
We lay shivering in our beds ere since we left from Belfasts bay
Well the wind wailed ever stronger and the Irish Sea rose angry
And even seasoned sailors were seen running for the bow
When we headed back to safety you could hear one thankful sigh
But the Dunbar sailed the next day we would never catch her now

Chorus
Out from the cliffs and rocky shoreline
Where the gulls and swallows fly
The chill foam, so far from home
But for the grace go I

Verse 3
Well of our situation the boat’s captain knew full well
For the engines started throbbing well before the break of day
The sea was now a millpond and that little steamer ploughed on
And one fella said we’ll catch her yet, don’t give your hopes away
As we reached Liverpool, turbines straining fit to burst
We spied a weighty vessel 90 yards out from the shore
She was under heavy sail and headed straight towards the south
And as she grew nigh somebody cried alas there sails the Dunbar

Chorus

Verse 4
Well I found another passage, but I blew my savings waiting
After months at sea we sighted the great cliffs loam in the fog
As we passed by the great south head of the harbour town of Sydney
A sight slid by our port side, oh most chilling to behold
For the crows and seabirds were among the great cliffs wheeling heavy
And all could see the wreckage of both man and vessel there
When the pilot came on board towards that sight he nodded gravely
With a long and heavy sigh proclaimed ‘alas there lies the Dunbar’

Chorus
Out from the cliffs and rocky shoreline
Where the gulls, and swallows fly
The chill foam, so far from home
But for the grace go I 

And now I stand above that rocky shoreline
Where the gulls, and swallows fly
The chill foam, so far from home
But for the grace go I 
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