As I was a-walking down Ratcliffe Highway
A flash-looking packet I chanced for to see
I hailed her in English, she answered me clear
I'm from the Blue Anchor bound for the Black Bear
Sing too relye addie, sing too relye ay.
She had up her colours, her masthead was low
She was round in the counter and bluff in the bow
She was blowing along with the wind blowing free
She clewed up her courses and waited for me
I tipped up my flipper, I took her in tow
And yardarm to yardarm away we did go
She lowered her topsail, t'gansail and all
Her lily-white hand on my reef-tackle fall
I said, "My fair maiden, it's time to give o'er
For twixt wind and water you've run me ashore
My shot locker's empty, my powder's all spent
I can't fire a shot for it's choked round the vent"
Here's luck to the girl with the black curly locks
Here's luck to the girl who run Jack on the rocks
Here's luck to the doctor who eased all his pain
He's squared his mainyards, he's a-cruising again.
(TRADITIONAL, NINETEENTH CENTURY)
Excerpted from The English Monster by Lloyd Shepherd. Copyright © 2012 by Lloyd Shepherd. Excerpted by permission of Washington Square Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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