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Ye Mariners All

Ye Mariners All published on

Ye mariners all, as ye pass by,
Come in and drink if you are dry.
Come spend, my lads, your money brisk,
And pop your nose in a jug of this.

Ye tipplers all, if ye’ve half a crown,
You’re welcome in for to sit down.
Come in, sit down, think not amiss,
To pop your nose in a jug of this.

For now I’m bound for the Spanish shore,
Where deathly cannons loud do roar.
Crown my desire, fulfill my bliss,
A pretty girl and a jug of this.

And when I’m old and can scarcely crawl,
When I’ve an old grey beard and a head that’s bald.
Crown my desire, fulfill my bliss,
A pretty young girl and a jug of this.

And when I’m in my grave and dead,
And all my sorrows have past and fled,
Transform me then into a fish,
And let me swim in a jug of this.

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald published on

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they called “Gitche Gumee.”
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
when the skies of November turn gloomy.
With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty,
that good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
when the “Gales of November” came early.

The ship was the pride of the American side
coming back from some mill in Wisconsin.
As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
with a crew and good captain well seasoned,
concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
when they left fully loaded for Cleveland.
And later that night when the ship’s bell rang,
could it be the north wind they’d been feelin’?

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
and a wave broke over the railing.
And ev’ry man knew, as the captain did too
’twas the witch of November come stealin’.
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
when the Gales of November came slashin’.
When afternoon came it was freezin’ rain
in the face of a hurricane west wind.

When suppertime came the old cook came on deck sayin’.
“Fellas, it’s too rough t’feed ya.”
At seven P.M. a main hatchway caved in; he said,
“Fellas, it’s bin good t’know ya!”
The captain wired in he had water comin’ in
and the good ship and crew was in peril.
And later that night when ‘is lights went outta sight
came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
when the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searchers all say they’d have made Whitefish Bay
if they’d put fifteen more miles behind ‘er.
They might have split up or they might have capsized;
they may have broke deep and took water.
And all that remains is the faces and the names
of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
in the rooms of her ice-water mansion.
Old Michigan steams like a young man’s dreams;
the islands and bays are for sportsmen.
And farther below Lake Ontario
takes in what Lake Erie can send her,
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
with the Gales of November remembered.

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,
in the “Maritime Sailors’ Cathedral.”
The church bell chimed ’til it rang twenty-nine times
for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they call “Gitche Gumee.”
“Superior,” they said, “never gives up her dead
when the gales of November come early!”

Willie Taylor

Willie Taylor published on

Willie Taylor and his youthful lover
Full of mirth and loyalty
They were going to the church to be married
He was pressed and sent on sea

Dally-dilly-dum dilly-dum-dum-dum-dum
Dally-dilly-dum dilly-dum-dum-day

She dressed herself up like a sailor
On her breast she wore a star
Beautiful fingers long and slender
She gave them all just a smear of tar

On the ship there being a skirmish
She being one amongst the rest
Silver button flew off her jacket
There appeared her snow white breast

Says the captain to this fair maid
What misfortune has took you here
I’m in search of my true lover
Whom you pressed on the other year

If you’re in search of your true lover
Pray come tell to me his name
Willie Taylor they do call him
But Fitzgerald is his name

Let you get up tomorrow morning
Early as the break of day
There you’ll find your Willie Taylor
Walking along with his lady gay

She got up the very next morning
Early as the break of day
There she spied her Willie Taylor
Walking along with his lady gay

She drew out a brace of pistols
That she had at her command
There she shot her Willie Taylor
With his bride at his right hand

When the captain came to hear it
Of the deed that she had done
He made her a ship’s commander
Over a vessel for the Isle of Man

White Squall

White Squall published on

Now it’s just my luck to have the watch, with nothing left to do
But to watch the deadly waters glide as we roll north to the ‘Soo’,
And wonder when they’ll turn again and pitch us to the rail
And whirl off one more youngster in the gale.

The kid was so damn eager, it was all so big and new.
You never had to tell him twice, or find him work to do.
And evenings on the mess deck he was always first to sing,
And show us pictures of the girl he’d wed in spring.

But I told that kid a hundred times “Don’t take the Lakes for granted.
They go from calm to a hundred knots so fast they seem enchanted.”
But tonight a red-eyed Wiarton girl lies staring at the wall,
And her lover’s gone into a white squall.

Now it’s a thing that us oldtimers know – in a sultry summer calm
There comes a blow from nowhere, and it goes off like a bomb.
And a fifteen thousand tonner can be thrown upon her beam
While the gale takes all before it with a scream.

The kid was on the hatches, lying staring at the sky.
From where I stood I swear I could see tears fall from his eyes.
So I hadn’t the heart to tell him that he should be on a line,
Even on a night so warm and fine.

When it struck, he sat up with a start; I roared to him, “Get down!”
But for all that he could hear, I could as well not made a sound.
So, I clung there to the stanchions, and I felt my face go pale,
As he crawled hand over hand along the rail.

I could feel her keeling over with the fury of the blow.
I watched the rail go under then, so terrible and slow.
Then, like some great dog she shook herself and roared upright again.
Far overside, I heard him call my name.

So it’s just my luck to have the watch, with nothing left to do
But watch the deadly waters glide as we roll north to the ‘Soo’,
And wonder when they’ll turn again and pitch us to the rail
And whirl off one more youngster in the gale.

Whale of a Tale

Whale of a Tale published on

Got a whale of a tale to tell ya, lads
A whale of a tale or two
‘Bout the flappin’ fish and the girls I’ve loved
On nights like this with the moon above
A whale of a tale and it’s all true
I swear by my tattoo

There was Mermaid Minnie, met her down in Madagascar
She would kiss me, any time that I would ask her
Then one evening her flame of love blew out
Blow me down and pick me up!
She swapped me for a trout

Chorus

There was Typhoon Tessie, met her on the coast of Java
When we kissed I bubbled up like molten lava
Then she gave me the scare of my young
Blow me down and pick me up!
She was the captain’s wife

Chorus

Then there was Harpoon Hannah, had a look that spelled out danger
My heart quivered when she whispered, “I’m there, stranger”
Bought her trinkets that sailors can’t afford
And when I spent my last red cent
She tossed me overboard!

Chorus

Wha’ll Dreg a Buckie

Wha’ll Dreg a Buckie published on

Them buckie boats are best lads the buckie boats are braw
They dreg their nets twice a day the buckies for tae draw
Tae keep oor wifies happy in their wee hoose in the raw
And keep the ship in whiskey lads, the buckies we will draw

Wha’ll dreg a buckie o, Wha’ll dreg a clam
Wha’s gone wi’ Willie o, Wha’s gone wi’ Tam
Wha will be luckie o, Wha will be wrang
Wha’ll dreg a buckie on the Prestonpans sands

And Willie has the Jonnie noo and Tam the Bluebell star
And they’re the boys tae be away, the buckies for tae draw
They kent whar the beds are biggest, and there’s money gone oot far
And we come hame contented lads, the buckies we can draw

And we maun come hame empty noo, we’re dregin oot the last
The Dutch and German boats they gied the beds nae rest
With their bigger hold and bigger nets they took the place too fast
And we maun come hame empty noo, we’re dregin oot the last

Ten Thousand Miles Away

Ten Thousand Miles Away published on

It’s off for the life on a gallant ship
With a fair and favoring breeze
With a bully crew and a captain too
To carry me over the seas
To carry me over the seas me boys
To my true love far away
For I’m taking a trip on a Government ship
Ten thousand miles away

And sing blow, you bully boys blow, a-roving I will go
I’ll stay no more on England’s shore
Or hear the music play
I’m off on the morning train and I won’t be back again
For I’m taking a trip on a Government ship
Ten thousand miles away

Well me true love she was beautiful
Me true love she was young
But she’s taken a trip on a Government ship
Bound out to Botany Bay
Bound out to Botany Bay my boys
And though she’s far away
I’ll never forget me own true love
Ten thousand miles away

Oh dark and dismal was the day
When last I saw my Meg
She’d a Government band around each hand
And another one round her leg
And another one round her leg my boys
As the big ship left the bay
And I said that I’d be true to her
Ten thousand miles away

Oh I wish I was a bosun bold
Or a sailor without fear
I’d man a boat and away I’d float
And straight for me true love steer
And straight for me true love steer my boys
Where the dancing dolphins play
Where the whales and sharks are having their larks
Ten thousand miles away

Oh, the sun may shine through the London fog
Or the river run quite clear
Or the ocean brine might turn to wine
Or I forget my beer
Or I forget my beer my ‘boys
Or the landlord’s quarter pay
Before I forget me own true love
Ten thousand miles away

Swing A Cat

Swing A Cat published on

It was just after midnight when I heard the captain shout,
“Curse the devil below but there are rats about!”
They were crawling cross the gangplanks, they were streaming up the sheets,
Every sailor had a hundred snapping at his feet.

“What can we do?!” cried the sailors as the rats began to dance,
“It’s a hopeless situation, but we have one chance.
Every man go ashore, searching this way and that,
Don’t dare to show your face until you find a cat!”

Swing it high, swing it low, if it hollers let it go,
If it’s drowned there’s only one way to take care of that
You must grab it by its feet, swing it high, swing it neat,
You could save a life at that if you can swing a cat!

So, we sprang to the docks and we bolted through the town
Every young man and old man searching up and down.
Three-hundred sailors running loose, what do you think of that?
And every salty sailor surely found a cat!

Back to the ship we went running with our prizes
There were cats of many colours, there were cats of many sizes,
When the rats saw us coming, they all began to shout,
“Curse the devil below, there are cats about!”

So, we turned our kitties loose upon that unsuspecting horde,
While the rats by the thousands scrambled overboard
They were swept out to sea, every germy little tail,
And the sun rose upon us as we hoisted sail.

Now we sail the mighty ocean and we’re such a happy crew,
With our kitties here to help us there is nothing much to do!
If a cat has two fishies he will surely give you one
And he’ll sing you to sleep when your day is done!

Spanish Ladies

Spanish Ladies published on

Farewell and adieu, to ye Spanish Ladies,
Farewell and adieu, to ye ladies of Spain;
For we’ve received orders to sail for ol’ England,
We hope in a short time, to see you again.

We’ll rant and we’ll roar like true British sailors,
We’ll rant and we’ll roar across the salt seas
Until we strike soundings in the channel of old England;
From Ushant to Scilly ’tis thirty five leagues.

We hove our ship to, with the wind at sou’west, boys
We hove our ship to, for to strike soundings clear;
It’s fifty-five fathoms, with a fine sandy bottom,
We filled our main topsail up channel did steer.

The first land we sighted was called the Dodman,
Next Rame Head off Plymouth, off Portsmouth the Wight;
We sailed by Beachy, by Fairlight and Dover,
And then we bore up for the South Foreland light.

Then the signal was made for the grand fleet to anchor,
And all in the Downs that night for to lie;
Let go your shank painter, let go your cat stopper!
Haul up your clewgarnets, let tacks and sheets fly!

Let every man here drink up his full bumper,
Let every man here drink up his full bow;
We’ll sing and be jolly, and drown melancholy,
Drink a health to each jovial true-hearted soul.

South Australia

South Australia published on

In South Australia I was born,
Heave away, Haul away!
In South Australia, round Cape Horn,
We’re bound for South Australia

Haul away, you rollin’ king!
Heave away, Haul away!
Haul away, Oh hear me sing!
We’re bound for South Australia

As I rode out one morning fair,
’twas there I met Miss Nancy Blair,

I shook her up, I shook her down,
I shook her round and round the town!

There’s one thing that does grieve my mind,
It’s leaving Nancy Blair behind,

And as you wallop around Cape Horn,
You wish to God you’d never been born!

It’s back again to Liverpool
I spent my pay like a bloody fool

I’m Liverpool born and Liverpool bred
Long in the arm and thick in the head

Oh rock and roll and make some noise
Let’s get this damn job over, boys

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