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> Norma Waterson > Songs > The Still and Silent Ocean

The Still and Silent Ocean

[Peter Bellamy]

Mike and Norma Waterson sang the roles of Henry Cabell and Susannah Holmes in Peter Bellamy’s ballad opera The Transports. This track was reissued in 2003 on the Watersons anthology The Definitive Collection. Steve Tilston sang this song on the 2004 re-recording of The Transports.


Across the still and the silent ocean
Our ship she finds her way alone.
The crew they make no loud commotion,
The chain-ed transports they make no moan.
All black despair do lie behind us
And what awaits us no man may know.
Of those dark days naught can remind us
New worlds are waiting to which we go.

Are we in chains? We do not feel them.
Are we ill-quartered? We don’t complain.
Do we have guards? We do not see them.
Do we have sickness? We fell no pain.
For the night is passed, new days are dawning,
Winter is over and Spring draws nigh.
What’s done is done, there’s no time for mourning,
What’s lost is lost, and there’s no time to sigh.

God bless those tender-hearted creatures
Who brought us back to our own again.
Good health to all whose kind deeds did reach us,
Good luck to them who did ease our pain.
Glad fortune come to Mrs Jackson,
To bold John Simpson and Lord Sydney too;
Almighty God, do spare and keep them
And grant them peace when their days are through.

Come all you poor benighted convicts,
Come join us in our present joy;
Come all you seamen who sail the tropics,
Rejoice with us that our goal is nigh.
When we’re ashore the priest will wed us
As soon as we do reach the strand;
Salute the captain who here has led us
To the hopeful pastures of Van Diemen’s Land!


Thanks to Wolfgang Hell who kindly provided me with the sleeve notes of the The Transports LPs. I changed a few words to the actual singing of Mike and Norma Waterson.