Traditional - Lyrics from Capstan Bars, by David Bone
'Twas in th' cold month of December,
When all my money I had spent,
I shipped in the Clipper ship "Defender,"
An' away to the west-ard I went.
An' it is "Get ye back." Ho!
"Take in yer slack." Ho!
Heave away th' capstan. Heave a pawl.
Heave a pawl!
'Bout ship: stations, boys, be handy.
Raise tacks, sheets, an' mains'l haul!
I joined on a bitter winter's morning.
A-frappin' of my arms to keep me warm.
An' th' south cone a-hoisted for a warnin'
To stand by th' makin' of a storm.
It was then that I heard a voice a'callin'.
I listened and I heard it again.
'Twas th' mate at th' fo'cas'le door a-bawlin'.
"Oh, lay aft an' answer t' yer name."
An' when I arrived upon th' quarter-deck,
Great Heavens, what a sight was there to see:
There were remnants of nearly every nation.
An' I tell you th' sight did sicken me.
There was Dutchmen an' Roosians an' Spanish,
An' Johnny Creepaws straight across from France,
An' most didn't know a word of English,
But answered to the name o' "Month's Advance."
Now in my chest I had a bottle.
I saw my boarding master put it there.
So I slipped off th' deck t' wet my throttle,
To drown off my sorrow an' my care.
And there I did suffer disappointment.
When I rummaged with my hand among my traps.
There was nought but a box of greasy ointment,
An a bottle o' Riga Balsam for the chaps.