(as told me by the bo'sun) Mother Carey? She's the mother o' the witches 'N' all them sort o' rips; She's a fine gell to look at, but the hitch is, She's a sight too fond of ships; She lives upon an iceberg to the norred, 'N' her man he's Davy Jones, 'N' she combs the weeds upon her forred With pore [drowned]1 sailors' bones. She's the mother o' the wrecks, 'n' the mother Of all big winds as blows; She's up to some deviltry or other When it storms, or sleets, or snows; The noise of the wind's her screamin', 'I'm arter a plump, young, fine, [Brass-buttoned, beefy-ribbed]2 young seam'n So as me 'n' my mate kin dine.' She's a hungry old rip 'n' a cruel For sailor-men like we, She's give a many mariners the gruel 'N' a long sleep under sea; She's the blood o' many a crew upon her 'N' the bones of many a wreck, 'N' she's barnacles a-growin' on her 'N' shark's teeth round her neck. I ain't never had no schoolin' Nor read no books like you, But I knows ['t]3 ain't healthy to be foolin' With that there gristly two; You're young, you thinks, 'n' you're lairy, But if you're to make old bones, Steer clear, I says, o' Mother Carey, 'N' that there Davy Jones.
First published in Speaker, 1902
1 Keel: "drown'd"
2 Keel: "Brass-button’d, beefy-ribb’d"
3 Keel: "it"
- by John Masefield (1878 - 1967), "Mother Carey", appears in Salt Water Ballads, first published 1902 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Marshall H. Barnes (b. 1921), "Mother Carey" [SATB chorus and orchestra or instrumental ensemble (13 instruments)], from Salt Water Ballads [text not verified]
- by J. Frederick Keel (1871 - 1954), "Mother Carey", published 1919 [voice and piano], from Three Salt-Water Ballads, no. 3. [text verified 1 time]
Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Mike Pearson
This text was added to the website: 2008-12-30
Line count: 33
Word count: 225