Rolling Down to Old Mohee
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John Renfro Davis


Information
Lyrics
Gale Huntington collected this song from the 1858 log of the ship Atkins Adams out of New Bedford. It appeared earlier in Joanna Colcord's Songs of American Sailormen (1938), but Colcord could not find a tune for it. Huntington found a tune for the words in Frederick Harlow's Chanteying Aboard American Ships (1962).

The words are clearly related to Rolling Down to Old Maui. As with many shanties and folksongs, it is possible the words were sung to various tunes or they had an earlier common source.

Once more we are waft by the northern gales
Bounding over the main
And now the hills of the tropic isles
We soon shall see again
Five sluggish moons have waxed and waned
Since from the shore sailed we
Now we are bound from the Arctic ground
Rolling down to old Mohee
Now we are bound from the Arctic ground
Rolling down to old Mohee


Through many a blow of frost and snow
And bitter squalls of hail
Our spars were bent and our canvas rent
As we braved the northern gale
The horrid isles of ice cut tiles
That deck the Arctic sea
Are many many leagues astern
As we sail to old Mohee
Are many many leagues astern
As we sail to old Mohee


Through many a gale of snow and hail
Our good ship bore away
And in the midst of the moonbeam's kiss
We slept in St. Lawrence Bay
And many a day we whiled away
In the bold Kamchatka Sea
And we'll think of that as we laugh and chat
With the girls of old Mohee
And we'll think of that as we laugh and chat
With the girls of old Mohee


An ample share of toil and care
We whalmen undergo
But when it's over what care we
How the bitter blast may blow
We are homeward bound that joyful sound
And yet it may not be
But we'll think of that as we laugh and chat
With the girls of old Mohee
But we'll think of that as we laugh and chat
With the girls of old Mohee


Related Links
Lyrics and Music From Songs the Whaleman Sang
See Bibliography for full information.