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 Page: Profile: Poetry   Total Views: 17,028,103  

Poem Specs

VxPoem ID: 26783


Posted: February 7th. 2007 1:42:28 AM

Views: 2248

Paddy, Lay Back

by Ladykelshan

Age Group: Adult

'Twas a cold an' dreary mornin' in December, (December)
An' all of me money it was spent (it was spent) ,
Where it went to Lord I can't remember (remember) ,
So down to the shippin' office went, (went, went) ,

Paddy, lay back (Paddy, lay back) !
Take in yer slack (take in yer slack) !
Take a turn around the capstan - heave a pawl - heave a pawl!
'Bout ship, stations, boys, be handy (be handy) !
Raise tacks, sheets, an' mains'l haul!

Alternative final line of chorus:
For we're bound for Valaparaiser 'round the Horn!

That day there wuz a great demand for sailors (for sailors) ,
For the Colonies and for 'Frisco and for France (an' for France) ,
So I shipped aboard a Limey barque the Hotspur (the Hotspur) ,
An' got paralytic drunk on my advance ('vance, 'vance) ,

Paddy, lay back (Paddy, lay back) !
Take in yer slack (take in yer slack) !
Take a turn around the capstan-heave a pawl - heave a pawl!
'Bout ship, stations, boys, be handy (be handy) !
Raise tacks, sheets, an' mains'l haul!

Now I joined her on a cold December mornin',
A-frappin' o' me flippers to keep me warm.
With the south cone a-hoisted as a warnin',
To stand by the comin' 0' a storm.

Now some of our fellers had bin drinkin',
An' I meself wuz heavy on the booze;
An' I wuz on me ol' sea-chest a-thinkin'
I'd turn into me bunk an' have a snooze.

I woke up in the mornin' sick an' sore,
An' knew I wuz outward bound again;
When I heard a voice a-bawlin' at the door,
'Lay aft, men, an' answer to yer names!'

'Twas on the quarterdeck where first I saw 'em,
Such an ugly bunch I'd niver seen afore;
For there wuz a bum an' stiff from every quarter,
An' it made me poor ol' heart feel sick an' sore.

There wuz Spaniards an' Dutchmen an' Rooshians,
An' Johnny Crapoos jist acrosst from France;
An' most o' 'em couldn't speak a word o' English,
But answered to the name of 'Month's Advance'.

I wisht I wuz in the 'Jolly Sailor',
Along with Irish Kate a-drinkin' beer;
An' then I thought what jolly chaps were sailors,
An' with me flipper I wiped away a tear.

I knew that in me box I had a bottle,
By the boardin'-master 'twas put there;
An' I wanted something for to wet me throttle,
Somethin' for to drive away dull care.

So down upon me knees I went like thunder,
Put me hand into the bottom o' the box,
An' what wuz me great surprise an' wonder,
Found only a bottle o' medicine for the pox.

I felt that I should skip an' join another,
'Twas plain that I had joined a lousy bitch;
But the chances wuz that I might join a worser,
An' we might git through the voyage without a hitch.

I axed the mate a-which a-watch wuz mine-O,
Sez he, 'I'II soon pick out a-which is which';
An' he blowed me down an' kicked me hard a-stern-O,
Callin' me a lousy, dirty son-o'-a-bitch.

Now we singled up an' got the tugs alongside,
They towed us through the locks an' out to sea;
With half the crew a-pukin' o'er the ship's side,
An' the bloody fun that started sickened me.

Although me poor ol' head wuz all a-jumpin',
We had to loose her rags the followin' morn;
I dreamt the boardin'-master I wuz thumpin',
When I found out he'd sent me around the Horn.

I swore I would become a beachie-comber,
An' niver go to sea no ruddy more;
For niver did I want to be a roamer ,
I'd shanghai the boardin'-master an' stay ashore.

But when we got to bully ol' Vallaparaiser,
In the Bay we dropped our mud hook far from shore;
The ol' Man he refused ter let us raise 'er,
An' he stopped the boardin'-masters comin' aboard.

I quickly made me mind up that I'd jump 'er,
I'd leave the beggar an' git a job ashore;
I swum across the Bay an' went an' left 'er,
An' in the English Bar I found a whore.

But Jimmy the Wop he knew a thing or two, sir,
An' soon he'd shipped me outward bound again;
On a Limey to the Chinchas for guanner, boys,
An' soon was I a-roarin' this refrain.

So there wuz I once more again at sea, boys,
The same ol' ruddy business over again;
Oh, stamp the caps'n round an' make some noise, boys,
An' sing again this dear ol' sweet refrain.

Author's Notes: Posted by ladykelshan
Wednesday Feb 7th/2007

These are a few of my more favorite sea shanties...I used to go to the Hyde Street Pier, in San Francisco, California, and sing these on the Thayer Schooner...they still have the "sing alongs."..down at the pier..I believe they are the first Saturday of every month...and you get on an email listing , to find out when the next one will be, if there are changes....they usually serve Hot tea, Cider, or Cocoa...on the breaks... The schooner is right across from Ghiradelli Square.
If you have a song you want to can ask...if you want to play along with them...that is welcome to...they also have people that will bring their instruments just to entertain you!
Everybody sits in the hull of the ship.If interested call Hyde street park...I think that they also sing in the summer nights as well!
The pier has many great things to see there...including a submarine that was the sub in the movie" Down Periscope" well as having Fleet Week, and Tall SHips there as well, off and on. A great place to go with the family and you can bring kids to the shanties as well, (past eleven pm, the more adult versions of the shanties will be sung!)

Traditional - Lyrics from Shanties from the Seven Seas, by Stan Hugill

Stan Hugill,
Shanties from the Seven Seas
(1961; Mystic Seaport Museum, 1994)

If you have any fascination for the work songs of the sea, Stan Hugill's Shanties from the Seven Seas should be your bible.

Hugill was no deskbound scholar researching a topic through second- and third-hand resources. He was a sailor and a shantyman, making his living from the ocean as long as his kind of worker was still needed. But as machines replaced men on many of a ship's backbreaking tasks, the need for rhythmic shanties to unite the men's labors and lift their spirits were no longer needed. Fortunately, Hugill did his best to preserve the old songs and their histories, and this volume is a true labor of love.

Shanties from the Seven Seas was originally published in England in 1961. It went through several printings, with corrections and abridgements along the way, before being picked up by a new publisher in the late 1980s and seeing its first U.S. release. Now, the Mystic Seaport Museum has re-issued the book and, given the Connecticut museum's interest in preserving nautical history and lore, will hopefully keep it in print.

Hugill, who died in 1992 at age 86, is remembered in this new edition as "a singer, raconteur, amateur anthologist, armchair philologist, self-taught artist, and boon companion." He worked hard at sea during peace and war, survived two shipwrecks, was a German prisoner of war, retired into a new career as a boatswain and sailing instructor for Outward Bound, and was the person most responsible for preserving and reviving the shantyman's art.

"To the seamen of America, Britain, and northern Europe a shanty was as much a part of the equipment as a sheath-knife and pannikin, " Hugill wrote in his introduction to this volume. "Shanties were always associated with work -- and a rigid tabu held against singing them ashore. ... To sing a shanty when there was no heaving or hauling would be courting trouble -- and the sailing-ship man was superstitious to a degree."

The 42-page introduction, titled "The Art of the Shantyman, " is worth the cover price alone for anyone interested in the history, development and practical applications of shanties, as well as the various historical efforts to trace their roots. Afterwards, the book is packed with lyrics, including variations, and exhaustive details of the songs' distinct uses at sea. The notes are printed for anyone who wants to play or sing the tunes, and Hugill also provided illustrations showing seamen singing at their work.

Although the material is sometimes a trifle dry, Hugill's casual approach to his topic and his narrative style of writing keep it interesting to read and evoke a certain sadness for a way of life long gone. Shanties from the Seven Seas is a fascinating treasure and valuable resource for singers of songs from the sea.

[ by Tom Knapp ]

Author's Location: Washington, Washington DC
More Poems: Ladykelshan has posted 485 additional poems- View them?
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