Naval Songs & Ballads - online book

3 Centuries Of Naval History In Shanties & Sea Songs With Lyrics & Notes

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236          SONGS AND BALLADS
' There is the master a-swearing, the boatswain a-growling, The midshipman a-howling out, " Take that fore-bowling "; If you speak but one word you're a mutinous rascal, Both your legs laid in irons and try'd by a court-martial.'
Now, boys, we are press'd away from our habitation, And we leave wife and children in grief and vexation ; We venture our sweet lives in defence of our nation, And we get nothing for it but toil and vexation.'
When first on board of a man-of-war We go, whether by press or enter, And alongside of our ship we come, We boldly in her venture. Such twigging then at we fresh men. ' They're clever fellows,' some say, While the buffers stand with their rattans, Crying, ' Keep down out of the gangway.'
Then aft upon the quarter-deck ' We go, it being common; Our officers examine us, to know Who and who are seamen; There's some are seamen, some are freemen, Some one thing, some another: Then we down below on the main deck go, Boys, after one another.
Next to old Trinculo we go
For an order to get our hammocks,
Then aft again and down amain,
Not forgetting our stomachs.
The steward pens, he takes our names,
And tells us to our messes;
But nipping there they can't forbear,
For the Devil them possesses.