Bell commemorated in song

Henry Bell & Comet
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Comet-2012-logoTHE 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.


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