“The Bonnie Ship the Diamond”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1930 (Ord)
Keywords: ship sea whaler return sex
Found in: Britain(Scotland)


"The Diamond is a ship my lads, For the Davis Straight she's bound." The ship goes whaling near Greenland, "Where the sun it never sets." The singer toasts various ships, and promises to return home. When the ship returns, sailors and girls go on sprees


According to Ord, _The Bonnie Ship the Diamond_ sailed from Aberdeen -- and, yes, he considers the ship's name to be _The Bonnie Ship the Diamond_, not just _The Diamond_. He does not, however, cite a source.

The internal date for this song seems to be the first quarter of the nineteenth century, based on its mention of the _Resolution_. According to Lincoln P. Paine's _Ships of the World_, p. 430, the ship sailed from North Whitby. Her most famous captains were William Scoresby Senior, who commanded from her fitting out in 1803 until 1810, and his son William Junior, captain from 1810 to 1813.

In 1806, Scoresby took _Resolution_ to 82 degrees 30 minutes north latitude (see Pierre Berton, _The Arctic Grail_, p. 97) -- the unofficial record for "farthest north" at the time, not to be broken for twenty years, and not to be broken by a ship for many years after that. The Scoresbys became famous, and some thought the younger one (whose discoveries set the Admiralty to thinking about the Northwest Passage, since they reported that the polar ice was retreating) should have led John Ross's northward expedition (for background on these, see the notes to "Lady Franklin's Lament (The Sailor's Dream)" [Laws K9]). The navy wouldn't trust a civilian whaler, however.

The _Resolution_ was sold in 1813 (Scoresby the Younger would eventually turn to the priesthood), but Paine reports that she continued to work out of Whitby until 1829. She was sold to Peterhead interests in 1829; Paine does not record her final fate. - RBW


  1. Ord, pp. 312-313, "The Bonnie Ship the Diamond" (1 text)
  2. Darling-NAS, pp. 319-320, "The Diamond" (1 text)
  3. Silber-FSWB, p. 94, "The Bonny Ship the Diamond" (1 text)
  5. Roud #2172
  6. BI, FSWB094