Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
The Sailor’s Life at Sea
WHEN the anchor’s weigh’d and the ship’s unmoor’d,
    And landsmen lag behind, sir,
The sailor joyfully skips on board,
    And, swearing, prays for wind, sir:
          Towing here,        5
          Yeoing there,
          Steadily, readily,
          Cheerily, merrily,
    Still from care and thinking free
    Is a sailor’s life at sea.        10
When we sail with a freshening breeze,
    And landsmen all grow sick, sir,
The sailor lolls with his mind at ease,
    And the song and the can go quick, sir—
          Laughing here,        15
          Quaffing there,
          Steadily, &c.
When the wind at night whistles o’er the deep,
    And sings to landsmen dreary,
The sailor fearless goes to sleep,
    Or takes his watch most cheery.        20
          Boozing here,
          Snoozing there,
          Steadily, &c.
When the sky grows black and the wind blows hard,
    And landsmen skulk below, sir,
Jack mounts up to the topsail yard,        25
    And turns his quid as he goes, sir.
          Hauling here,
          Bawling there,
          Steadily, &c.
When the foaming waves run mountains high,
    And landsmen cry, “All’s gone! sir:”        30
The sailor hangs ’twixt sea and sky,
    And jokes with Davy Jones, sir.
          Dashing here,
          Splashing there,
          Steadily, &c.
When the ship, d’ye see, becomes a wreck        35
    And landsmen hoist the boat, sir,
The sailor scorns to quit the deck,
    While a single plank’s afloat, sir—
          Swearing here,
          Tearing there,        40
          Steadily, readily,
          Cheerily, merrily,
    Still from care and thinking free,
    Is a sailor’s life at sea.

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