by John Masefield (1878 - 1967)

The turn of the tide
Language: English 
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.

Authorship:

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):


Researcher for this text: Mike Pearson

This text was added to the website: 2016-07-09
Line count: 20
Word count: 207