The Halyard Chantey “Across the Western Ocean”

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

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Hello, I'm Peter Kasin, a park ranger at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, and here is today's "sheltered-in chantey." This is called" Across the Western Ocean." It's a halyard chantey. What were the halyards? They were literally yards, so the term means to haul yards. Yards go across the masts on sailing ships, and you can lower and raise them. You would raise them at the beginning of a voyage. You're going to hear about packet ships, and a packet school. Packet ships were originally small to medium size, carrying packets of mail, and later as the 19th century grew, packet ships were used for all sorts of cargo. They often went to Liverpool, and the most famous packet line was the Blackball Line, that went between Manhattan and Liverpool. Here's Across the Western Ocean.

Oh, the times was hard and the wages low (Chorus): Amelia, where you bound to? The rocky mountains is my home (Chorus): Across the western ocean

A land of promise there ye'll see (Chorus): Amelia, where you bound to? I'm bound away across the sea (Chorus): Across the western ocean

To Liverpool I'll make my way (Chorus): Amelia, where you bound to? To Liverpool, that packet school (Chorus): Across the western ocean

Beware them packet ships I pray (Chorus): Amelia, where you bound to? They'll steal your gear and clothes away (Chorus): Across the western ocean

We are bound away from our friends and home (Chorus): Ameliaq, where you bound to? We're bound away for to seek our gold (Chorus): Across the western ocean

Mothers and sweethearts, don't you cry (Chorus): Amelia, where you bound to? Sisters an' brothers say goodbye (Chorus): Across the western ocean

Until the next sheltered-in chantey, stay safe everyone. Thanks for listening.


“Across the Western Ocean,” a halyard chantey, was used raise and lower the yards - horizontal spars to which sails are attached.