The Bay of Biscay

Melody - John Davy

Andrew Cherry

Loud roar'd the dreadful thunder,
The rain a deluge show'rs,
The clouds were rent asunder
By lightning's vivid pow'rs.
The night was drear and dark,
Our poor devoted bark,
Till next day there she lay
In the Bay of Biscay, O!

Now, dash'd upon the billow,
Her op'ning timbers creak,
Each fears a wat'ry pillow,
None stop the dreadful leak.
To cling to slipp'ry shrouds,
Each breathless seaman crowds,
As she lay till next day
In the Bay of Biscay O!
  At length the wish'd for morrow
Broke thro' the hazy sky,
Absorb'd in silent sorrow,
Each heav'd a bitter sigh,
The dismal wreck to view,
Struck horror in the crew,
As she lay all that day
In the Bay of Biscay O!

Her yielding timbers sever,
Her pitchy seams are rent,
When Heav'n, all bounteous ever,
It's boundless mercy sent,
A sail in sight appears,
We hail her with three cheers,
Now we sail, with the gale,
From the Bay of Biscay O!

Andrew Cherry, who wrote the words of 'The Bay of Biscay', was the son of a printer and bookseller in Dublin. Starting his working life in his father's firm, he soon left to become an actor, a career in which he had a considerable success. As a writer, he produced many pieces for the stage including the popular The Soldier's Daughter which was produced at Drury Lane in 1804 'with much applause'. The Bay of Biscay was notoriously hard to navigate and because of its diverse currents and numerous inlets was dreaded by sailors who encountered furious storms there. Cherry's song, set in these treacherous waters, however, has a happy ending.

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