THE COMET SONG
by Alan Reid
Oh have ye heard the tale of the inventor Henry Bell?
A man o' vision driven by a dream
He encountered opposition and the scorn o' doubting men
When he built a vessel powered just by steam.
Ye must be trying to kid us Mr Bell
Ye cannae sail a boat without a sail.
If ye put her in an angry sea she'll sink ablow the waves.
Your bonny scheme is surely bound tae fail
Fur ye canny sail a boat without a sail.
But Henry Bell built his Comet and he put her out to sea
And her engine roared against the wind and tide
Fae Helensburgh, Greenock and the Broomielaw forby
She thrilled the crowds that lined the waterside.
And she proved she could sail without a sail
But still the doubters doubted Henry Bell.
When she hit a rock near Oban and she sank ablow the waves
They cried 'We always knew that it would fail'
For ye shouldnae sail a boat without a sail.
Bell built another Comet though he didnae hae the means
Fae the Clyde tae Inverness she plied her trade
Till she struck another vessel and left Bell a broken man
For three score o' Comet's passengers were dead.
But he'd proved that ye could sail without a sail
And others were inspired by Henry Bell
Till the ships upon the ocean fitted engines powered by steam
And at last they overtook the world of sail.
They realised the dreams o' Henry Bell
The dreams o' the inventor Henry Bell.
- This song was one of several written by Alan Reid who provided the musical accompaniment for the play "An Evening with Mr and Mrs Bell", written by Dave Dewar and performed in the Heritage Room in Helensburgh Library in West King Street on Thursday August 23 2012 as part of the bicentenary celebrations. It is reproduced here with Alan's permission.