I yarned with ancient shipmen beside the galley range
And some were fond of women, but all were fond of change;
They sang their quavering chanties, all in a fo'c's'le drone,
And I was finely suited, if I had only known.
I rested in an ale-house that had a sanded floor,
Where seamen sat a-drinking and chalking up the score;
They yarned of ships and mermaids, of topsail sheets and slings,
But I was discontented; I looked for better things.
I heard a drunken fiddler, in Billy Lee's Saloon,
I brooked an empty belly with thinking of the tune:
I swung the doors disgusted as drunkards rose to dance,
And now I know the music was life and life's romance.