Traditional Sea Shanties & Sea Songs
Paddy Get Back

A Collection of lyrics for traditional Sea Shanties & Songs of the Sea.

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Paddy Get Back

Capstan Shanty
I was broke and out of a job in the city of London,
I went down to Shadwell Docks to get a ship.
Chorus:
Paddy get back, take in the slack!
Heave away the capstan, heave a pawl! heave a pawl!
'Bout ship and stations and be handy,
Rise tacks and sheets and mains'l haul!

2. There was a Yankee ship a-laying in the basin,
And they told me she was going to New York.
Chorus:

3. If I ever lay my hands on that shipping master,
I'll murder him if it's the last thing I do.
Chorus:

4. When the pilot left the ship 'way down the Channel,
O, the captain told us we were going around Cape Horn.
Chorus:

5. The mate and the second mate belonged in Boston,
And the captain hailed from Bangor down in Maine.
Chorus:

6. The three of them were rough-and-tumble fighters,
When not fighting amongst themselves they turned on us.
Chorus:

7. They called us out one night to reef the topsails,
Now belaying pins were flying around the deck.
Chorus:

8. And we came on deck and went to set the topsails,
Not a man in the bunch could sing a song.
Chorus:

9. We are tinkers, we are tailors, and the fireman also cooks,
And they couldn't sing a shanty unless they had the books.
Chorus:

10. Wasn't that a bunch of hoodlums,
For to take a ship around Cape Horn?
Chorus:
or
'Twas a cold an' dreary mornin' in December, December
An' all of me money it was spent, Spent, spent
Where it went to, Lord I can't remember, Remember
So down to the shipping office went, Went, went
Chorus:
Paddy lay back, Paddy lay back
Take in yer slack, take in yer slack
Take a turn around yer capstan, have a pawl, have a pawl
'Bout ship, stations, boys, be handy, be handy
For we're bound for Valparaiser 'round the Horn!

2. That day was a great demand for sailors, For sailors
For the colonies and for Frisco and for France, France, France
So I shipped aboard a Limey barque the Hotspur, The Hotspur
An' got paralytic drunk on my advance, 'Vance, 'vance
Chorus:

3. I woke up in the morin' sick an' sore, Sore
An' I knew I was outward bound again, Bound again
When I heard a voice a-bawlin' at the door, The door
"Lay aft, men, an' answer to yer names !", Names, names
Chorus:

4. I knew that in my box I had a bottle, A bottle
By the boardin'-master 't was put there, 't was put there
An' I wanted something for te we me throttle, Me throttle
Somethin' for to drive away dull care, Care, care
Chorus:

5. So down upon me knees I went like thunder, Thunder
Put me hand into the bottom of the box, Box, box
An' what wuz my great surprise an' wonder, Wonder
Found only a bottle of medicine for the pox, Pox, pox
Chorus: