Friday, July 28, 2006

A Little Poetry for You (sea shanties)

Here's a couple of sea shanties I learned on my recent trip. The first is a classic sing-while-working shanty, and the second is more the bawdy-drinking shanty. For more sea shanty lyrics, check out ARRR!!! or Shanties and Sea Songs, or some of the other sites you might find in a google search for "sea shanty." Note the chorus is in italics, and gets repeated for every stanza.
South Australia

In South Australia I was born
(To me) heave away, haul away
In South Australia round Cape Horn
We're bound for South Australia
Haul away you rolling kings
(To me) heave away, haul away
Haul away, you'll hear me sing
We're bound for South Australia

As I walked out one morning fair
Twas there I met Miss Nancy Blair

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

I run her all night and I run her all day
And I run her until we sailed away

There ain't but one thing grieves me mind
To leave Miss Nancy Blair behind

And as we wallop around Cape Horn
You'll wish to God you'd never been born

In South Australia my native land
Full of rocks and thieves and fleas and sand

I wish I was on Australia's strand
With a bottle of whiskey in my hand

Yarmouth Town

In Yarmouth Town there lived a man,
He had a little tavern by the strand.
And the landlord had a daughter fair,
Pretty little thing with golden hair.

Oh, won't you come down,
Won't you come down,
Won't you come down
To Yarmouth town
Oh, won't you come down,
Won't you come down,
Won't you come down
To Yarmouth town.

One night there came a sailor man
He asked the daughter for her hand.
"Oh, I won’t marry you, she said,
I get all I want without being wed.
"But if with me you’d like to linger,
I’ll tie a string all around my finger
And as you walk by, pull on my string
And I'll come down and let you right in."

Well, the very next day at closing time,
The sailor man goes down to the strand
And as he walks by, pulls on that string,
And she comes down, and lets him right in.
Now he's never seen such a sight before,
The string around the finger was all she wore!

So all young men that to Yarmouth go,
If you see a pretty girl with her hair hung low,
All you've got to do’s pull on the string,
And she'll come down and she'll let you right in.

1 comment:

Douglas said...

I seem to recall that they sang the first of your sea shanties in the latest Moby Dick movie with Patrick Stewart as Captain Ahab.