Child's Ballads/289

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For works with similar titles, see The Mermaid.

A[edit]

AS we lay musing in our beds,
So well and so warm at ease,
I thought upon those lodging-beds
Poor seamen have at seas.
Last Easter day, in the morning fair,
We was not far from land,
Where we spied a mermaid on the rock,
With comb and glass in hand.
The first came up the mate of our ship,
With lead and line in hand,
To sound and see how deep we was
From any rock or sand.
The next came up the boatswain of our ship,
With courage stout and bold:
'Stand fast, stand fast, my brave lively lads,
Stand fast, my brave hearts of gold!'
Our gallant ship is gone to wreck,
Which was so lately trimmd;
The raging seas has sprung a leak,
And the salt water does run in.
Our gold and silver, and all our cloths,
And all that ever we had,
We forced was to heave them overboard,
Thinking our lives to save.
In all, the number that was on board
Was five hundred and sixty-four,
And all that ever came alive on shore
There was but poor ninety-five.
The first bespoke the captain of our ship,
And a well-spoke man was he;
'I have a wife in fair Plymouth town,
And a widow I fear she must be.'
The next bespoke the mate of our ship,
And a well-bespoke man was he;
'I have a wife in fair Portsmouth,
And a widow I fear she must be.'
The next bespoke the boatswain of our ship,
And a well-bespoke man was he;
'I have a wife in fair Exeter,
And a widow I fear she must be.'
The next bespoke the little cabbin-boy,
And a well-bespoke boy was he;
'I am as sorry for my mother dear
As you are for your wives all three.
'Last night, when the moon shin'd bright,
My mother had sons five,
But now she may look in the salt seas
And find but one alive.'
'Call a boat, call a boat, you little Plymouth boys,
Don't you hear how the trumpet[s] sound?
[For] the want of our boat our gallant ship is lost,
And the most of our merry men is drownd.'
Whilst the raging seas do roar,
And the lofty winds do blow,
And we poor seamen do lie on the top,
Whilst the landmen lies below.

B[edit]

ONE Friday morn when we set sail,
Not very far from land,
We there did espy a fair pretty maid
With a comb and a glass in her hand, her hand, her hand,
With a comb and a glass in her hand.
While the raging seas did roar,
And the stormy winds did blow,
While we jolly sailor-boys were up into the top,
And the land-lubbers lying down below, below, below,
And the land-lubbers lying down below.
Then up starts the captain of our gallant ship,
And a brave young man was he:
'I've a wife and a child in fair Bristol town,
But a widow I fear she will be.'
For the raging seas, etc.
Then up starts the mate of our gallant ship,
And a bold young man was he:
'Oh! I have a wife in fair Portsmouth town,
But a widow I fear she will be.'
For the raging seas, etc.
Then up starts the cook of our gallant ship,
And a gruff old soul was he:
'Oh! I have a wife in fair Plymouth town,
But a widow I fear she will be.'
And then up spoke the little cabin-boy,
And a pretty little boy was he;
'Oh! I am more grievd for my daddy and my mammy
Than you for your wives all three.'
Then three times round went our gallant ship,
And three times round went she;
For the want of a life-boat they all went down,
And she sank to the bottom of the sea.

C[edit]

ONE Friday morn as we'd set sail,
And our ship not far from land,
We there did espy a fair mermaid,
With a comb and a glass in her hand, her hand, her hand,
With a comb and a glass in her hand.
While the raging seas did roar,
And the stormy winds did blow,
And we jolly sailor-boys were up, up aloft,
And the landsmen were lying down below,
And the landlubbers all down below, below, below,
And the landlubbers all down below.
Then up spoke the captain of our gallant ship,
Who at once did our peril see;
I have married a wife in fair London town,
And tonight she a widow will be.'
And then up spoke the litel cabin-boy,
And a fair-haired boy was he;
'I've a father and mother in fair Portsmouth town,
And this night she will weep for me.'
Now three times round goes our gallant ship,
And three times round went she;
For the want of a life-boat they all were drown'd,
As she went to the bottom of the sea.

D[edit]

TWAS a Friday morning when we set sail,
And our ship was not far from land,
When there we spied a fair pretty maid,
With a comb and a glass in her hand.
Oh, the raging seas they did roar,
And the stormy winds they did blow,
While we poor sailor-boys were all up aloft,
And the land-lubbers lying down below, below, below,
And the land-lubbers lying down below.
Then up spoke the captain of our gallant ship,
And a mariner good was he;
'I have married a wife in fair London town,
And this night a widow she will be.'
Then up spoke the cabin-boy of our gallant ship,
And a brave little boy was he;
'I've a father and a mother in old Portsmouth town,
And this night they will both weep for me.'
Then up spoke a seaman of our gallant ship,
And a well-spoken man was he;
'For want of a long-boat we shall all be drowned,
And shall sink to the bottom of the sea.'
Then three times round went that gallant ship,
And down like a stone sank she;
The moon shone bright, and the stars gave their light,
But they were all at the bottom of the sea.

E[edit]

UP and spoke the bonny mermaid,
Wi' the comb and the glass in her hand;
Says, Cheer up your hearts, my mariners all,
You are not very far from the land.
And the raging seas do foam, foam,
And the stormy winds do blow,
While we poor sailors must mount to the top,
When the landsmen they lye low.
Out and spoke the captain of our ship,
And a fine little man was he;
'O I've a wife in fair London town,
And a widow this night she shall be.'
Out and spoke the mate of our ship,
And a tight little man was he;
'O I've a wife in Dublin city,
And a widow this night she shall be.'
Out and spoke our second mate,
And a clever little man was he;
'Oh I have a wife in Greenoch town,
And a widow this night she shall be.'
Out and spoke our little prentice boy,
And a fine little boy was he;
'Oh I am sorry for my mother,' he said,
'As you are for your wives all three.'
Out and spoke the cook of our ship,
And a rusty old dog was he;
Says, I am as sorry for my pats and my pans
As you are for your wives all three.

F[edit]

GREENLAND, Greenland, is a bonny, bonny place,
Whare there's neither grief nor flowr,
Whare there's neither grief nor tier to be seen,
But hills and frost and snow.
Up starts the kemp o the ship,
Wi a psalm-book in his hand:
'Swoom away, swoom away, my merry old boys,
For you'll never see dry land.'
Up starts the gaucy cook,
And a weil gaucy cook was he;
'I wad na gie aw my pans and my kettles
For aw the lords in the sea.'
Up starts the kemp o the ship,
Wi a bottle and a glass intil his hand;
'Swoom away, swoom away, my merry old sailors,
For you'll never see dry land.'
O the raging seas they row, row, row,
The stormy winds do blow,
As sune as he had gane up to the tap,
As . . . low.