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Captain Bailey's Mistake

Words: Charlie Ipcar and Judy Barrows ©2001
After a news story by Bruce Kyle
Bangor Daily News, 9/16/95
Original event occurred near Lubec, Maine, in 1809

Tune: after Ian Robb’s The Old Rose & Crown, ©1977 SOCAN

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Good friends gather round, and the truth I'll relate,
How a cove near Lubec became Bailey's Mistake;
There was a bold captain whose name was Bailey,
And his ship ended up where 'twas not s'posed to be.

So here's to our captain, where e'er he may be,
A friend to the sailor on land and on sea;
Ye mariners all, weigh the risks that ye take,
Lest you be remembered like Bailey's Mistake.

He set sail from Boston, Downeast for Lubec,
With a cargo of lumber piled high on the deck;
He skirted Cape Ann with nary a fear,
And our crew gave a cheer as the Maine coast drew near.

As we closed on Lubec, we was socked in by fog,
But continued to sail by compass and log;
As our ship ghosted in, "Look sharp!" Bailey said,
"You'll soon see the narrows off West Quoddy Head."

But, alas, for poor Bailey, no narrows we found,
And in a large cove our ship ran aground;
Said Bailey, "As sailors, there's no way we can win;
Let's unload the lumber, build homes and move in."

So here's to old Bailey, who sailed the salt sea,
'Till his ship ended up where 'twas not s'posed to be;
He'd be sailing still could he just navigate,
But he's doing quite well selling prime real estate!

(no chorus after the final verse)

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Capt. Bailey's Mistake – For years I wondered about the name of a cove, Bailey's Mistake, on the nautical chart of far Downeast Maine. I finally got the bones of the story from a newspaper article and corresponded with the writer for additional historical information. There was indeed a Capt. Bailey in the early 1800's and he did wreck his ship, with a load of lumber near Lubec. The song practically wrote itself but the tune is borrowed from Ian Robb's fine drinking song The Old Rose and Crown, © 1977 SOCAN.

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