The Phantom Ships - I|
Out of the Port of Halifax
On a dreary December day
The HMCS "Canada"
Slid silently on her way.
She was bound for active duty
On patrol in the Cabot Strait
With a crew of seasoned sailors
Who feared neither man nor fate.
Just about the midnight hour
Upon the third dark night,
As the graveyard watch was changing,
A ship hove into sight.
A mass of leaping flames was she,
So the "Canada" steamed on
To where they saw the blazing ship
Mirrored in the dawn.
As they neared the burning vessel,
With amazement the "Canada's crew
Saw an ancient ship - a "Man O War",
And under full-sail, too.
The "Canada" sped to her side,
But suddenly the night
Just swallowed up the phantom ship
And she disappeared from sight.
They beamed the searchlights all around
And patrolled the sea 'til dawn,
But the ship had simply vanished -
Not a sign of where she'd gone.
An elderly Petty Officer,
Who had spent his life at sea,
Growled, "'Twas only a ghost ship, maties;
Foul weather will follow, mark me!"
Next morning the waves roared high
In the throes of an easterly gale
And the "Canada" moved off
'Midst its angry, blustering wail.
O, they say that the phantom spirits
Of ships that cannot rest
Still appear from time to time,
As they follow their ghostly quest.
These stories originate with tales I heard from seafaring men when I was
growing up in Nova Scotia. They swore them to be true.