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Handsome Cabin Boy

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The Handsome Cabin Boy

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The Handsome Cabin Boy

It's of a pretty female as you will understand
Her mind was set on rambling into a foreign land
She dressed herself in man's attire and boldly did appear
And she engaged with a captain to serve him for a year.

The captain's lady being on board, she seemed in great joy
To think that the captain had engaged such a handsome cabin boy
And many's the time she cuddled and kissed, and she would have
     liked to toy
But 'twas the captain found out the secret of the handsome cabin

Her cheeks they were like roses, her hair was all a-curl
The sailors often smiled and said, he looks just like a girl
But eating the captain's biscuit, well, her color it did destroy
And the waist did swell of pretty Nell, the handsome cabin boy.

As through the Bay of Biscay our gallant ship did plough
One night among the sailors there came an awful row
They tumbled from their hammocks for their rest it did destroy
They complained about the groaning of the handsome cabin boy

It's doctor, dearest doctor, the cabin boy did cry
My time has come, I am undone, surely I must die
The doctor ran with all his might, a-smiling at the fun
For to think a cabin boy could have a daughter or a son

Now when the sailors heard the joke, they all began to stare
The child belongs to none of us, they solemnly did swear
And the lady to the captain said "My dear I wish you joy
For it was either you or I betrayed the handsome cabin boy."

Come all of you bold fellows and we'll drink success to trade
And likewise to the cabin boy who was neither man nor maid
And if the wars should rise again, us sailors to destroy
Well, here's hoping for a jolly lot more like the handsome cabin

A popular broadside ballad of shipboard carryings-on.  This
version from Louis Killen; it derives from that sung by one of
the greatest ballad singers of all times, Jeannie Robertson of

Recorded by John Roberts and Tony Barrand on "Mellow with Ale
from the Horn", FHR-04
DT #445
Laws N13
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