The Ballad of Captain d'Arkhouse

by Joanna Graham 

Now gather round hearties and I'll tell you the tale

Of how on the blue ocean a Captain set sail.

Though the sky was a-thunder and the sea was a-squall,

He steered through the tempest for to rescue us all.

Oh his name's Captain d'Arkhouse and praise to him be,

For he sails the stout Antiark over the seas,

And he cares for all creatures, no matter their guise,

For he's valiant and gallant and merry and wise,

And his name's Captain d'Arkhouse, so raise him a dram,

For the Captain's a mighty fantastical man.

Oh 'twas in the beginning, now this tale's old as time,

That the Almighty Maker decided how fine, 

That the earth and the heavens and the whole world would be,

If everything loathsome was drowned in the sea. 

For the Almighty Maker had made us in haste,

And now he considered us beasts his mistakes,

We were crooked and ugly, or so people say,    

And so he decided we were best swept away.

So he swelled up the clouds and he raised up the brine,

For to spring clean forever the world of our kind, 

For only things perfect and pristine and nice,

Were a-welcome to live in his neat paradise.

Oh how sorely we suffered that terrible day,

When the storm clouds a-gathered and the heavens turned grey,

As the rain fell in torrents and the earth turned to mud, 

And we knew we would drown in the terrible flood.   

Then our hopes were raised up when way out of the blue,

Sailed a ship full of animals gathered all two by two,

So we hooted and hollered, but they paid us no mind,

But sailed into the torrent and just left us behind.

Then just as our bodies had started to float,

A-sailing towards us came a strange looking boat,

Oh its rigging was ragged, and its aspect was dark,

And thus we laid eyes on the brave Antiark. 

Then wafting towards us like a scent on the air,

Came the sound of a flute piping melodies fair,

'Twas the bold Captain d'Arkhouse all a-playing a song,

For to pipe us aboard and to cheer us along.

And so we laid eyes on a Captain so strange,

That should we describe him you'd think us deranged,

You would never believe us, why you'd laugh us to scorn

So no mention we'll make of his hooves and his horns.

Now alongside the Captain stood his fair lady wife,

His beloved, his dearest, the true love of his life,

And her name's Lady Lilith, and she's beauteous fair, 

Combing strange and remarkable styles with her hair. 

Yes the Lady has beetles hold her hair up in place,

And she dances with elegance, grandeur and grace,

She dresses in velvets of voluptuous cloth,

And the mask on her face is a gigantic moth,

And her name's Lady Lilith and let praise to her be,

For she sails the stout Antiark over the sea.

So the bold Captain d'Arkhouse and the Lady so kind,

Pulled the ship alongside us as we bobbed in the brine,

Then they stretched out their arms with compassion and love,

And so rescued us all from the terrible flood. 

And so we were saved, oh the joy and the bliss

As we held fast the sails, gave the ship's wheel a kiss

For the fine Good Ship Antiark's sturdy and strong,

Made to measure to hold our phenomenal throng.  

So no matter how raging the waves tossed and hurled,

We were snug, safe and warm in our small wooden world, 

And in no time at all we were seafarers all,

And could pilot our way through the storms and the squall.

So adventures a-plenty and fantastical sights, 

Were the rule of the days and the sway of the nights,

'Til upon one fine morning, a fine morning dawned,

For to herald the end of the terrible storm.

And so we pitched up on a towering hill,

As the rain stopped a-falling and the winds they fell still,

As the Antiark rested at last in her harbour,

All surrounded by weeds and a gnarled oak tree arbour.

Now we may be a rag-bag of tooth, claw and scales,

Some with leathery wings, some with barbs on our tails, 

We're outlandish to look on, but what can we do ?  

On a very strange ship, we're a very strange crew.

So should you come a-sailing with us on the sea,

Here some brief introductions as to who we all be, 

We're grotesque, we're preposterous, yes but even the least,

Of our horrible throng is a fabulous beast.

Meet Balthazar, Bosun in charge of our boat, 

Woolly-fleeced, woolly minded, he's a lonesome Scape Goat,

He would be smart dressed in his uniform bright,

Were it not for the fact that he ate it last night.

For Balthazar's frequently lost in a thought,

Pondering which side is starboard and which side is port,  

And considering these matters ever harder and harder,

He eats all the ship's biscuits and most of the larder.

Here's Magog and Gog, the ship's cat and ship's owl,

Who each thinks the other is utterly foul,

And so each thought the other entirely to blame,

On discovering their shadows were exactly the same.

And hating the fact they are so keenly matched,

Both Gog and Magog are determined to snatch,

The control of their shadow for to gain the sole rights, 

To this day the ship rattles to the sound of their fights.

Meet the fierce Trismegistus, he's a Wyvern so grim, 

That it's really best never to irritate him,   

His lives in a cauldron where he conjures up spells,

And mixes up potions with foul noxious smells.

But the Wyvern's a creature you need on a mission, 

For none other on earth's such a splendid magician,

And when he's relaxing, his habit's to sup,

On a draught of pure hemlock from a fine silver cup.

Of the monsters and misfits these are but a few,

Of the many amongst the brave Antiark's crew,

So rather than list all our horrible hoard,  

Perhaps you might like to come join on us on board.

So gather round hearties, whereso'er you belong,

Come aboard and come join us in singing this song, 

We'll sit and carouse in a merry affray, 

So listen up hearties and we'll tell you the way.

It's a dangerous journey on which you'll embark,

Through the midst of a forest that's dismal and dark,

Bring your sense of direction for there's no beaten track,

There'll be perils a-plenty, and you'll want to turn back.

But don't be dismayed all you buccaneers bold,

Brave the hazards and hardships, the wind and the cold,

Keep your wits in your head and this song in your heart,

And soon you'll catch sight of the brave Antiark.

Then once you have climbed o'er the bramble briar moat,

That repels all invaders from off of our boat,

Captain d'Arkhouse will pipe you a sweet melody, 

And the fair Lady Lilith will invite you to tea.

We'll have pleasures a-plenty, and a party no less, 

So make sure you're apparelled in fanciful dress,

All the night and day long we'll have frolics and fun,

So why not come dressed as the moon and the sun.

For it's well known the best way to dance to a tune,

Is to shimmer with silvery beams like the moon,

And by what finer way could you ever amaze,

Than to shine like the sun with its bonny bright rays.


And so wearing your costumes celestial bright,

You will glitter and twinkle and scintillate light 

And by dancing the joy and delight of the spheres,

You will banish all sorrow and heartache and fears. 

So why are you waiting, you bold little rovers,

When the best way to make sure a journey is over,

Is to set off at once and to keep well in mind,

All the wonders ahead you are going to find.

But shiver the timbers, how the time sails along,

Let's return the reason we're singing this song,

He's the hero who saved us from sorrow and strife,

He's the Captain aboard this great lifeboat of life

Yes his name's Captain d'Arkhouse and praise to him be,

For he sails the stout Antiark over the seas,

And he cares for all creatures, no matter their guise,

For valiant and gallant and merry and wise,

And his name's Captain d'Arkhouse and we'll raise him a dram,

For the Captain's a mighty fantastical man !