“Loss of the Philosophy”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1932 (Creighton-NovaScotia)
Keywords: death sea ship wreck sailor rescue
Found in: Canada(Mar)


Philosophy has a bad trip from St John to Havana. They make repairs at Havana. Nevertheless, they are cast away nearing home. Only five of seven make shore and two more die of cold. The survivors are rescued and return to Pope's Harbour.

Supplemental text

Loss of the Philosophy
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From Helen Creighton, Songs and Ballads from Nova Scotia, #128, pp. 275-277.
"Sung by Mr. Ben Henneberry, Devil's Island."

Ye landsmen all, on ye I call
  And jolly seamen too,
While I relate the hardship great
  I've lately gone through.
For Havana bound in the Philosophy,
  And from St. John set sail,
It was on the fourth of November
  In a sweet and pleasant gale.

(7 additional stanzas)


This song is item dD49 in Laws's Appendix II.

Creighton-NovaScotia: The singer says "This is a true story. Pope's Harbour is in Halifax County." Dates in the ballad -- which are not confirmed by Northern Shipwrecks Database -- have Philosophy leave St John for Havana on November 4 and the wreck takes place January 7. - BS


  1. Creighton-NovaScotia 128, "Loss of the Philosophy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. ST CrNS128 (Partial)
  3. Roud #1829
  4. BI, CrNS128