Four Sea Songs

Song Cycle by Paul Walford Corder (1879 - 1942)

1. Hell's pavement [sung text checked 1 time]

"When I'm discharged at Liverpool an' draws my bit o' pay,
I won't come to sea any more;
I'll court a pretty little lass and have a weddin' day,
And settle somewhere down shore;
I'll never fare to sea again a-temptin' Davy Jones,
A-heark’nin’ to the cruel sharks a-hung’rin' for my bones;
I'll run a blushin' dairy-farm or go a-crackin' stones,
Or buy an' keep a little liquor-store."
                                        So he said.

They towed her into Liverpool, we made the hooker fast,
And the copper-bound officials paid the crew,
And Billy drew his money, but the money didn't last,
For he painted the alongshore blue,
It was rum for Poll, and rum for Nan, and gin for Jolly Jack;
He shipped a fortnight later in the clothes upon his back;
He had to pinch a little straw, he had to beg a sack
To sleep on, when his watch was through,
                                        So he did.

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Researcher for this text: Mike Pearson

2. The turn of the tide [sung text checked 1 time]

An’ Bill can have my sea-boots, Nigger Jim can have my knife;
You can divvy up the dundarees an’ bed;
An’ the ship can have my blessing an’ the Lord can have my life,
An’ sails an’ fish my body when I’m dead.

An’ dreamin’ down below there in the tangled greens an’ blues,
Where the sunlight shudders golden round about,
I shall hear the ship complainin’ an the cursin’ of the crews;
An’ be sorry when the watch is tumbled out.

I shall hear them hilly-hollying the weather crojick brace,
An’ the sucking of the wash about the hull;
When they chanty up the topsail I’ll be haulin’ in my place
For my soul will follow sewards like a gull.

I shall hear the blocks a-gruntin’ in the bumpkins overside,
An’ the slatting of the storm-sails on the stay,
An’ the rippling of the catspaw at the making of the tide,
An’ the swirl an’ splash of porpoises at play.

An’ Bill can have my sea-boots, Nigger Jim can have my knife;
You can divvy up the the whack I haven’t scoffed
An’ the ship can have my blessing an’ the Lord can have my life,
For it’s time I quit the deck and went aloft.

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Researcher for this text: Mike Pearson

3. The emigrant [sung text checked 1 time]

Going by Daly's shanty I heard the boys within 
Dancing the Spanish hornpipe to Driscoll's violin, 
I heard the sea-boots shaking the rough planks of the floor, 
But I was going westward, I hadn't heart for more. 

All down the windy village the noise rang in my ears, 
Old sea boots stamping, shuffling, it brought the bitter tears. 
The old tune piped and quavered, the lilts came clear and strong. 
But I was going westward, I couldn't join the song. 

There were the grey stone houses, the night wind blowing keen, 
The hill-sides pale with moonlight, the young corn springing green,
The hearth nooks lit and kindly, with dear friends good to see. 
But I was going westward, and the ship waited me. 

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Captain Stratton’s Fancy [sung text checked 1 time]

[ ... ]

Oh, some are fond of Spanish wine and some are fond of French,
And some’ll swallow tay and stuff fit only for a wench;
But I’m for right Jamaica till I roll beneath the bench,
  Says the old bold mate of Henry Morgan.

Oh, some are for the lily and some are for the rose,
But I am for the sugar cane that in Jamaica grows;
For it’s that that makes the bonny drink to warm my copper nose,
  Says the old bold mate of Henry Morgan.

[ ... ]

Oh, some that’s good and godly ones they hold that it’s a sin
To troll the jolly bowl around, and [let]1 the dollars spin;
But I’m for toleration and for drinking at an inn,
  Says the old bold mate of Henry Morgan.

Oh, some are fond of dancing and some are fond of dice,
And some are all for red lips and pretty lasses’ eyes;
But a right Jamaica puncheon is a finer prize
  To the old bold mate of Henry Morgan.

[ ... ]

Oh, some are sad and wretched folk that go in silken suits,
And there’s a mort of wicked rogues that live in good reputes;
So I’m for drinking honestly and dying in my boots,
  Like an old bold mate of Henry Morgan.

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View original text (without footnotes)
First published in Speaker, May 1903
1 Corder: "make"

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Mike Pearson
Total word count: 777