> Peter Bellamy > Songs > St Celia's Rocks

The Rocks of Scilly / St Celia's Rocks / Come All You Brisk Young Seamen

[ Roud 388 ; Master title: The Rocks of Scilly ; Laws K8 ; Ballad Index LK08 ; VWML SBG/3/1/265 ; Bodleian Roud 388 ; Mudcat 79481 ; trad.]

St Celia's Rocks, also called Come All You Brisk Young Seamen, seems to be a variant of Rocks of Scilly.

Peter Bellamy sang St Celia's Rocks unaccompanied at the Cockermouth Folk Club in January 1991. This concert was published on his cassette Songs an' Rummy Conjurin' Tricks. According to the cassette's liner notes, the song is about two hundred years old, and Bellamy learned it from the singing of Harry Cox of Norfolk. I don't know of any recording of this song by Harry Cox, though.

Andy Clarke and Steve Tyler sang Wreck Off Scilly as the title track of their 2013 WildGoose CD Wreck Off Scilly. Andy Clarke noted:

Baring-Gould collected this song from James Parsons of Lewdown who lived a mile from his home in Lewtrenchard in Devon [VWML SBG/3/1/265] . The reverend collected many fine songs from this very frail old farm labourer known locally as the “singing machine”.


Peter Bellamy sings St Celia's Rocks

Well, come all you brisk young sailors bold as ploughs the raging sea,
Come listen to my tragedy I will relate to thee:
How I was pressed from my own true love, she's the girl I do adore,
Oh, pressed I was to the raging sea where the foaming billows roar.

Sometimes on deck, sometimes aloft, at other times below,
But thoughts of Polly run into me mind when the stormy winds did blow.

Now our captain, he being a valiant man, all upon the deck did stand.
“There it's fifty pound in full reward the first man who spies the land.”
So our bosun up aloft did go to up our top so high,
He spied all round him on every side, but neither light nor land did spy.

But our captain, he stood upon the deck and some light he chanced to spy.
“Bear off, bear off before the wind, for some harbour we are nigh,
Bear off, bear off before the wind, St Celia's Rocks to clear.
On the ocean wide we must abide till the daylight do appear.”

But the very first time our gallant ship struck, full loud our master cried,
“Oh God, Lord have mercy on us all who in the seas must die.”
Out of eighty brisk young sailors bold, only four got safe on shore.
And our gallant ship to the bottom she sank and she never did rise no more.

Now when this sad news reached Plymouth town, that our gallant ship was lost,
There was many a brisk young seaman bold for to lament our loss.
𝄆 Goodbye my dear, you must abide the loss of your sweetheart.
Since the raging seas and the stormy winds they have caused you and I to part. 𝄇